I really like stuffed peppers. They’re one of those Mid-Century marvels that you’re guaranteed to find in cookbooks of the 1950s, often in seemingly extraterrestrial variations.
But the basic idea is genius: seasoned meat and other goodies cooked inside a hollowed-out bell pepper. The pepper flavors the meat – the meat flavors the pepper – it all comes out in a neat package that releases deliciously fragrant steam when you cut into it. Served with some buttery mashed potatoes and a salad, you’ve got the perfect vintage comfort meal.
So, when I get a craving for stuffed peppers, I want them Sooner (as in ‘Immediately, if not sooner’) rather than Later (as in ‘I don’t want to be eating them any later than immediately.’)
That’s why I don’t make them in the oven anymore: I do them in a skillet and they’re on the plate by the time any side dishes are ready.
A lot of recipes call for adding rice to the meat mixture, but this just slows things down, in my opinion, and doesn’t add much taste-wise to the end result. I’d rather add something more interesting, like sunflower seeds, that don’t add to the cooking time.
In this variation on the classic, we add fragrant seeds and spices for a South Asian stuffed pepper that gets nestled in a delicious rice side dish.
So, make a big pot of milky masala chai, load Gurinder Chadha’s wonderful movie Bride and Prejudice into the DVD player, eat some yummy stuffed peppers – and get happy!
Here’s a photo of the Indian Style Stuffed Peppers below.
1 Tbsp Panch Phoran mix (see Cook’s Notes)
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (see Cook’s Notes)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 can chicken broth, divided
2 large green bell peppers
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup Basmati rice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp minced parsley
2 Tbsp minced pimentos (or sauteed minced red bell pepper)
Lightly toast the panch phoran seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat; set aside to cool. Combine the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, onion, seasoned salt, black pepper, the toasted panch phoran seeds, and 2 tablespoons of the chicken broth until thoroughly mixed.
Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs. Divide the meat mixture evenly into the pepper halves and press about a tablespoon of sunflower seeds into the top of each.
Heat the oil in a deep covered skillet or similar lidded pan over medium heat. Cook the peppers meat-side down for 7 - 10 minutes until nicely browned. Carefully remove the peppers from the pan (leave any seeds and browned bits in the pan) and set peppers aside.
Add the sesame seeds, rice, paprika, garam masala, and black pepper to the pan. Pour the remaining chicken broth into a measuring cup and add water to equal a total of 1-3/4 cups. Stir the broth into the skillet and bring to a boil. Place the peppers back into the skillet, meat-side up this time, and cover. Cook the rice and peppers for 15 - 17 minutes until the broth is completely absorbed. Sprinkle with the parsley and pimento before serving.
Make fresh breadcrumbs by removing the crust from sliced bread or rolls and pulsing in a food processor until finely chopped. You can substitute Panko breadcrumbs in this recipe; just add an extra tablespoon of liquid.
Panch Phoran, also known as Bengali Five Spice, is a mixture of equal parts fenugreek seed, mustard seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, and nigella seeds. It’s great for all sorts of vegetable dishes (try it with sauteed cauliflower – amazing!) You can find it pre-mixed in South Asian groceries or you can mix your own. If you can’t locate nigella seeds, substitute caraway seeds. Remember to always toast the seeds lightly (either dry or in oil) to bring out their flavors before adding them to a dish.
Please join us tomorrow to enjoy Shrimp and Eggs (The I-Heart-Shrimp Recipe), as part of this week’s Fish For Friday Recipe of the Week.
If you liked this article on HuggingtheCoast.Com, you might also enjoy reading:
- Recipe: Italian Stuffed Peppers With a Sauce So Good You’ll Want to Drink It
- Asian Sunflower Seed Curry Recipe
- Pomegranate-Infused Ginger Chicken With Sesame Scallion Dumplings
- A Roundup of Sweet Recipes to Bring in the Chinese New Year
- Turkey and Cipolline Stuffed Mushrooms