Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yum.

I found this recipe in a collection of “100 greatest” Cajun recipes. It’s ridiculous. Prep the peppers the day before for an easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 4 large bell peppers
  • Water to cover
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp.salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup celery, minced
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef*
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 lb. pork sausage, finely chopped
  • 3 cups French bread, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. Cajun spice mix
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco (or 1 tsp. Tapatío)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

* I use a full pound of ground venison, but realize that may not be accessible to everyone.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Cut the peppers in half, lengthwise, removing the membrane and seeds. Place in a large sauce pan, cover with water, and add the salt and baking soda. Parboil over medium heat for 5 minutes; remove and refrigerate in a tightly covered bowl until ready to use. (Note that if you’re prepping these a day in advance, the peppers can be parboiled on the second day.)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; once melted, add the olive oil to keep it from burning. Sauté the onion, celery, eggplant, chopped bell pepper and garlic until wilted, about 7 minutes; stir constantly. Stir in the parsley and meats, and continue to sauté another 10 minutes. While the meat cooks, mix the bread and milk in a large bowl; once absorbed, squeeze as much milk as you can from the bread and discard it. Combine the bread with the eggs.

Add the bread and egg mixture to meat and vegetables, mixing well. Season with the spices, reserving only the breadcrumbs, and pour into a 13×9″ baking dish. Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. When done, remove from the oven, let cool for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).

When you’re ready to serve the peppers, remove them from the refrigerator and fill with the chilled stuffing mixture. Top with the breadcrumbs and broil about 10 inches from the top of the oven for 15 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and golden on top.

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