Monday, March 19, 2012

Spicier Southwest Style Stuffed Peppers

The foundational inspiration for this recipe was on a blog called Inquiring Chef (thank you kindly!). I wanted to make a few changes:
  1. Sneak in more veggies
  2. Use ranch style black beans which have a savory sauce
  3. Make it smokier with smoked cheddar and Van Roehling Campfire Dust seasoning (see note at bottom)
They're vegetarian but are so hearty

Spicier Southwest Style Stuffed Peppers
serves 4 or more

1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced 
About 6 oz. of mushrooms (white or crimini or baby bellas), chopped
4 medium bell peppers (any color)
1 1/4 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. Van Roehling's Campfire Dust (see NOTE below) or 1/2 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like heat)
2 cups cooked rice (I prefer brown)
1 can black beans (I used ranch style) 
3/4 cup salsa
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish, if desired)

for serving:
sour cream (optional)

Ingredients before I put them in the processor
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise (cut from stem to base). Using a spoon or a small paring knife if you prefer, scrape out and discard the core and seeds. 

Arrange the peppers in a glass baking dish with the hollow side face up. It's ok if they touch.  

Prepare onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor (peel and chunk, then whiz through processor until it's coarse but not mushy). Saute, stirring, for 5 minutes in large pot over medium heat with a teaspoon of olive oil.

Chop mushrooms in the processor or by hand, add to the pot and saute for 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Add spices, rice, beans (with their sauce if using ranch style, or rinsed if not), cilantro and one cup of the shredded cheese. If it's a bit dry, add a little water (you basically want the filling to steam inside the peppers).
Ready to hit the oven

Fill the pepper halves with the mixture, packing it gently to compress it inside the peppers. Bake until the peppers smell yummy and are bubbling and darkening on top, 17-20 minutes. 

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the peppers and continue baking until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, topped with sour cream (if desired).

About Van Roehling products

Van Roehling, a Texas man of German heritage, is our friend's Dad. He was formulating his own variations of barbeque sauces and rubs, experimenting with infusions from the smoker and trying bold spice combinations. His appreciative guests raved about his creations, encouraging him to begin selling his wares. And so he did. 

Let me say that, knowing and loving his daughter, we know that attention to detail and personal connection runs in the family. My favorite is the smoky/garlicky/savory Campfire Dust rub, and I like it so much that I call her 'my dealer' - it's that illegally good. I use this in everything from roasted potatoes to omelets to creamed spinach to marinade. The only thing I haven't tried is sprinkling it on ice cream - betcha it would be good on vanilla!

May I suggest that you order your Van Roehling stuff before it's outlawed!

I'm addicted to this seasoning
1: add ground turkey and halve the amount of rice and beans. 
2: substitute quinoa for rice.
3: for paleo-friendly, use ground meat of choice, remove rice and beans, add tomato paste and water, and finely processed cauliflower.

Picking peppers: When purchasing the bell peppers, remember what your spouse/partner/family likes. I totally forgot that Greg detests green peppers. Doh! But they were two thirds cheaper. It would be fun to do a mix of colors so people can choose their color.
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