Stuffed Bell Peppers with Picadillo

Colorful Stuffed Bell Peppers
I’m helping to spread the word about the just released Muy Bueno Cookbook, organized by my friend and blogging buddy Heather at Girlichef.  The book is the project of a mother and 2 daughters who lovingly explore and share three generations of Mexican and Mexican American food heritage.  A group of bloggers have been sent advance copies of the book and we’ve been cooking from it for the past three weeks.  The book is gorgeous, inspiring, and full of so many recipes I want to try that my head is spinning.  

Colorful Stuffed Bell Peppers

I knew the minute that I saw this recipe that I had to make it and eat it at my earliest convenience.  I’m guided by my sense of sight when I cook and eat as much as any other, and this one grabbed my attention right away.  And I don’t know if you’ve noticed but they’re really pushing colorful peppers in the stores these days.  The sweet bell peppers are huge, too, and perfect for stuffing.

Stuffed peppers is an old favorite, and I haven’t made them in years.  The pitfalls are obvious…you can end up with waterlogged, mushy peppers filled with lackluster stuffing.  I have to say, these blew me away.  The peppers were firm and kept their color, and I loved the diced potatoes in the picadillo in place of the more common rice.

The technique of scorching the sides of the peppers in a hot pan before baking was fantastic.  It not only gave the peppers a really cool look, it gave a smokey, fire roasted taste to the finished dish.  I’m definitely using that technique from now on.

Ironically I think the only quibble I had with this recipe was that I wish there were more of a Mexican feel to the stuffing. It was an easy fix — I added cumin seeds, chile powder, and a diced poblano pepper to the picadillo.  I absolutely loved it.

Bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and spices

I found that I had enough filling for 4 peppers.  I also did not find it necessary to do the extra step of blanching the peppers first, they cooked to a perfectly tender but not mushy texture with just the 30 minutes in the oven.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Beef and Potatoes
Makes 3 stuffed bell peppers
3 bell peppers (your choice of color)
1 batch picadillo (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
cilantro, for garnish (optional)
 
For Picadillo:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 poblano chili, diced
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon chipotle chili powder 
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped roma tomatoes
1 small russet potato, peeled and finely chopped

To make picadillo:  In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent.  Add ground beef and brown,  Using a potato masher, mash meat so you have small pieces of meat with no big chunks.  Drain off excess grease.  Add garlic, salt, tomatoes, and potatoes and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are done.  Salt to taste.

To make the stuffed peppers:  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Make picadillo for stuffing the bell peppers (see above). Rinse the peppers, Cut the tops off and remove the white flesh and seeds.  Rinse out the inside of each pepper.  In a large stockpot parboil the peppers, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how soft you want them to be in the final dish.  Remove the peppers and drain any excess water that is inside them.
Brush each pepper with olive oil.  Heat up a comal (or griddle) and place the peppers on their side on the comal, about 1 minute on each side, just long enough to sear the sides of each pepper.
Prepare a baking dish (about 10.5 inches by 7 inches) that will accommodate your 3 peppers.  Spray the dish with cooking spray to keep the peppers from sticking to it.  Pour about 1/4 inch water into pan.
Stuff each pepper with some picadillo and place it in the baking dish.  Cover with foil and crimp the edges onto the dish creating a seal.  Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Plate 1 pepper per plate, top with crumbled queso fresco (or feta), and garish with cilantro.

This cookbook is my current favorite.  The photos, in a world full of fabulous food photos, are especially evocative and inspiring.  The recipes are that perfect mix of the new (otherwise, why buy a cookbook in the first place?) and the understandable.  No huge long ingredient lists or difficult techniques.   The recipes stay true to the theme of the book, which is reminiscing about and sharing beloved family food and traditions.  I felt like I was suddenly privy to a whole treasure trove of tried and true recipes from a family archive.

I love the visual guide to peppers at the beginning of the book, the family stories that introduce each recipe, and the sumptuous photos.  But the real treasure of this book lies under all the little bits of paper sticking out of my top of my copy, marking all the recipes I plan to try.  They take me by the hand and lead me into new culinary territory.  My curiosity is piqued, by appetite is  whetted, and this is one of those rare books that keeps my interest, page by page.  I want to cook my way through each and every recipe.

30 Comments

  • Reply
    Stella B. Lopez
    May 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Delicioso! A celebration for the eyes and tummy! Que rico!

  • Reply
    Ginny
    October 6, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Looks like such a great cookbook!

  • Reply
    Kat
    October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Have to try this! Love the whole idea of this recipe, thanks for posting it.

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    These look awesome, Sue. I actually make stuffed peppers fairly often, because they are one of my husband’s favorite meals. However, the potato idea is new to me and I’m loving it! I never blanch my peppers either. They are perfect for my tastes after just the baking time.

    Have a great day!!

  • Reply
    Thyme (Sarah)
    October 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I’ve made stuffed peppers twice this summer so I know how delicious these are. When everything cooks together in those blackened peppers, magic happens. Glad you are enjoying a new cookbook…I’m sure the family stories are wonderful to read. I’m reading one about a little farm in Italy. I’m trying to get my nerve up to making risotto!!

  • Reply
    Kate
    October 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

    These even look more Mexican with those beautiful char marks. I love that you tweaked the recipe with the spices and let us know you didn’t blanch the peppers. Too often I’ve had (and made) over blanched and mushy peppers. I love that the pepper colors are much more vibrant with your version and brighter colors mean more nutrition! Thanks again, Sue.

  • Reply
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com
    October 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I love stuffed peppers, make them all the time! Yours look beautiful!

  • Reply
    karen
    October 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Beautiful peppers! Great tip to preboil them, I hate when stuffed peppers are too raw and stiff.
    karenreichmann@hotmail.com

  • Reply
    Natalie
    October 3, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Looks delish! Can’t wait to make it!!

  • Reply
    MM
    October 3, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Your pictures are fantastic! It was fun cooking with you these past few weeks.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 3, 2012 at 12:00 am

    pepper look great going try

  • Reply
    linda
    October 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    These peppers look amazing! Thanks for sharing about the cookbook. I may try these with sweet potatoes and black beans as well. I so love your blog. It is inspiring and filled with goodness

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    October 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I love stuffed peppers!

  • Reply
    Celeste
    October 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    looks really, really good…different than what I grew up with. Might have to give it a spin! Wish me luck!

  • Reply
    curiouscuisiniere
    October 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    These look great. I love the colors of the peppers. So vibrant!

  • Reply
    grace
    October 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    gorgeous peppers and great stuffing–this is precisely why i love mexican cuisine!

  • Reply
    lorraine lopez
    October 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I’m gonna try the later in the week after i go shopping thanks

  • Reply
    Brenda
    October 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    These look delicious, I can’t wait to try the recipe. :)

  • Reply
    Nicole
    October 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    The scorching is a great idea. Beautiful photos. The peppers remind me of a cross between balloons and piñatas bursting with goodies at a birthday party!

  • Reply
    jean miller
    October 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    LOVE peppers. This is a definate twist, and sounds so good. Will certainly try this recipe! Such a good web site! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Karen Robbins
    October 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    My mom used to make stuffed peppers, but not like this! They look amazing!

  • Reply
    Tricia
    October 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    My husband would have a fit for this dish! The photos are gorgeous, the colors are beautiful. Perfect post Sue!

  • Reply
    Cathy at Wives with Knives
    October 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Fantastic photos, Sue. Those peppers are next on my list.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    October 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Sue your peppers are so pretty! I love the vibrant colors and how well-stuffed they are, standing up at attention! Mine sometimes topple right over :)

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    am really excited about this cookbook and making all these “oh so good” recipes. thanks so much for sharing. i found a few recipes that were on my list already to prepare and now i have a new way of making them – yay – yum. i have the prefect peppers to use. it’s going to be an awesome Mexican Tuesday Night :)p.s. big FB fan of The view from Great Island with no URL id sorry. so if i win please find me there. thanks much Donna from Madison, WI

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    October 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    After seeing both yours and Kim’s version of these – they are on my short-list. YUM!

  • Reply
    Draegermansgal
    October 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    These look amazing, but then everything you post is drool worthy :)
    Thank You for sharing the recipe & for the oportunity to win the cookbook!

  • Reply
    Pistachio and Rose
    October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I love stuffed peppers, yours look gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Pistachio and Rose
    October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    melissa
    October 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Wow! I wonder what the filling would taste like in a poblano pepper and an avocado creme sauce? Either way, I’ll be making these gorgeous peppers this week!!! Thank you!

  • Leave a Reply