Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rice and Eggplant Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love stuffed bell peppers. They're filling, easy to make, and, more often than not, attractive enough to serve company.

This version was inspired by a chili rellenos dish I had at a restaurant called Fork in Philadelphia last year.

Rice and Eggplant Stuffed Bell Peppers
Serves approximately 4

Cooked jasmine rice (cook 2 cups of rice in 3 cups of vegetable broth)
4 medium to medium-large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise (keep stem intact), with seeds and membranes removed
4 cups shredded mozzarella, cheddar, or jack cheese (I used pepper jack)
1 small eggplant (Asian preferred), finely diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Vegetable or canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, finely chopped, for garnishing (optional)

For the tomato sauce:

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup water

Start by cooking the rice.

Next, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the inside and outside of each pepper with vegetable or canola oil. Place the peppers on a baking sheet, cup-side up, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, place them in a baking dish, and set them aside.

In a skillet, begin making the tomato sauce by heating 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the coarsely chopped onions in the skillet until they soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and minced jalapeno, and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Pour the canned tomatoes into the skillet, with their juices, along with a cup of water. Crush the tomatoes using your hands. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the finely diced onions, along with the diced eggplant, until the onions and eggplant soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add more olive oil if necessary, so that the pan does not dry out.

Stir in the cooked rice, frozen peas, cumin, 2 cups of grated cheese, and 2 cups of the hot tomato sauce from the other skillet. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon the rice and eggplant mixture into the pepper halves. Top the peppers with the remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese. Place in a 450 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

To serve, pour some of the tomato sauce on a plate and set one or two pepper halves on top of the sauce. Garnish with the cilantro.


Kate said...

Yum, those look great! Will put on must try list for next summer!

Amanda said...

I found this recipe on food gawker and all I have to say is YUM!! My husband and I aren't vegetarians but we don't eat much meat, so I'm always on the look out for good veggie recipes. Plus, my husband LOVES stuffed peppers. THanks!

~Amanda@Little Flock

SK Rainsford said...

I added some garbanzo beans in the mix for extra protein. This is A YUMMY dish, a little different in prep for stuffing the peppers but it makes the texture better.