I like stuffed peppers mostly for the stuffing inside. It’s an easy way to use peppers, but sometimes the peppers can be a little overwhelming when you eat the final dish. Also, sometimes the peppers don’t get done all the way through. As a result, usually I’m pretending I like the dish more than I do as I try to ignore the fact that the outside is raw even while the inside is really good.
So tonight, instead of making real stuffed peppers I decided to make “inside out” stuffed peppers. It would still have all the ingredients, just be served up more like a casserole. It would also be an easier dish to make on a weeknight, since stuffed peppers can take a long time to make. With a plan in mind, I only had to decide just what kind of stuffed peppers to make.
That brings me to another great thing about stuffed peppers. They are easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand. I’ve made Middle Eastern varieties, with couscous, Indian varieties heavy on garam masala, and stuffed them with lentils, rice, bulgur, and everything in between. Last night when I surveyed what I had on hand, I decided these would be Mexican stuffed peppers. My stuffed pepper casserole would consist of chorizo, brown rice, enchilada sauce, salsa and cheese.
|Unstuffed pepper casserole|
I had all the ingredients on hand, so to get a jump on tonight’s prep, I decided to make the rice. That way when I came home from work tonight I’d be able to brown the chorizo, mix everything together and pop it in the oven. Doing some of the prep work in advance and cutting out the long cooking time for stuffed peppers which can take more than an hour, made this a do-able dish for a weeknight.
All in all, prep took about 10 minutes, and the casserole was done in about 35 minutes. The peppers were tender and it was a whole lot easier to eat than stuffed peppers. It also had more portion control than whole stuffed peppers. When I make those, I tend to eat at least half or the whole thing, since it’s easier that way. That would have amounted to about 2 – 4 servings had I made the peppers that way. The casserole looks more like at least 6 – 8.
The Unstuffed Peppers Casserole is definitely going in my pepper recipe file. I like the Mexican variety quite a bit, but I’m looking forward to seeing what other varieties I might make. I’ll have to see what’s on hand the next time I get peppers in my CSA box.