Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers - Mexican Style

Uncooked Mexican chorizo has the texture of a meat frosting. Yeah, that's not very appetizing, but when cooked, its fragrance and flavor is intense with Mexican chile and sweetbreads. The ingredients list (try reading it with a magnifying glass) is not for the faint of heart: cheek, tongue, glands, and lymph nodes? Yikes! Nothing sweet or doughy there. But, sauteed with onion and garlic, man is it freaking tasty! Try my chorizo and egg taco sometime if you don't believe me (click here).

It's trendy now to cook "head to tail"
-- but Mexican cooks have been doing this quite a while. Nothing is tastier than a taco made with cabeza (meat scraped off the skull) or lingua (tongue) from an East L.A. food truck (click here for my Halloween video post featuring scary meats).

Even Top Chef 's hunky dude Ludovic Lefebvre created a "chicken marinated in chorizo" dish (I'm going to rip-off, I mean adapt) for his latest LudoBites 6.0 pop-up restaurant (great photos by kevinEats, here).

Most stuffed bell pepper recipes call for ground meat with tomato sauce -- sorry, but that's boring to this cheapie epicurean. How about a budget Mexican version with ingredients including: enchilada sauce, rice, ground turkey and chorizo? I recently came up with it, and it's delicious. Ground turkey is bland until you mix in sauteed chorizo, and enchilada sauce over roasting bell peppers makes a unique savory pairing.

If you can't handle (or find) Mexican chorizo, my recipe is adaptable - just adding enchilada sauce over your typical stuffed bell pepper recipe is a unique flavor combination and well worth a go.

Ingredients (serves 3 - 4)
  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken
  • 4 bell peppers - medium to large.
  • 1 small can of red enchilada sauce - about 10 ounces.
  • 1/2 package of Mexican chorizo - about 5 ounces.
  • 1 cup of cooked rice - white or brown.
  • 1 package of Queso Fresco (4 oz.) or your favorite cheese - optional.
  • 1/2 onion - chopped
  • 1 large egg (or 2 medium).
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - chopped, from jar or fresh.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin - optional.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • * I had a few leftover mushrooms that I cut up and added - optional.

Saute onions (I added a couple of extra mushrooms) and chorizo until oil renders, about 10 minutes. Break apart and mix in ground turkey (or chicken). Sprinkle in ground cumin (optional) and chopped garlic. Cook about 7-10 minutes until turkey is no longer raw.

In a large bowl, add meat, cooked rice*, egg, cheese and mix well. Slice each bell pepper lengthwise, remove seeds and white membrane. Fill each bell pepper with meat mixture and set in a large roasting pan (or 2). Top each filled bell pepper with plenty of enchilada sauce.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour.

*If you do not have cooked rice on hand, here's a simple rice recipe -- add 1/2 cup of rice in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Allow to rest covered for another 5 minutes.


----- said...

I love stuffed green peppers, and this variation sounds like a real winner that I'm going to have to try soon! My favorite local supermarket stocks frozen one-pound rolls of seasoned ground turkey (I've tried the taco-seasoned and the Italian-seasoned and both are great!), and one of the varieties is flavored with chorizo seasonings. I'll try that in this recipe!

Dinahsoar said...

Thanks for the heads up...I'd considered trying Chorizo...but no way can I knowingly eat lymph nodes and glands. Having survived cancer and understanding the function of lymph nodes and glands there is no way I'm eating those organs.

moondancer718 said...

thanks for the suggestion to use chorizo, I have been planning to make cabbage rolls which calls for a combo of pork and beef. Dont have any ground pork but thot of using the chorizo I have in the frig instead. Over the summer I made your turkey/chorizo burger recipe to rave reviews. Figured maybe I could do the same with my cabbage rolls for the extra flavor and here you show a stuffed pepper recipe (which has the same ingredients as cabbage rolls) using chorizo. Many thanks for the inspiration, will make it tomorrow for the holidays. Cheers!

Mike Burns said...

Looks delicious! I've been thinking about making Dolmas(turkish stuffed veggies). Same idea different way of cooking. They usually steam the stuffed peppers or squashes in a flavorful stock.

Unknown said...

I absolutely love stuffed peppers. I think its time to do this again.

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