Like many Americans growing up in the 70′s, I have vivid memories of eating stuffed peppers for dinner.
Unfortunately for me, those memories aren’t that fond. Unless, of course, you consider fond being forced to sit at the dinner table until 9 o’clock because you refused eat your soggy overcooked stuffed peppers. All I remember is green bell peppers (double ick) stuffed with unseasoned ground beef, a heavy tomato sauce, and some soggy white rice. I just
didn’t don’t see the allure here. Oh gawd, mom- I’m sooo sorry. I didn’t realize how much I detested those peppers until I started writing this blog post. In order to play fair, let me offer a disclaimer: my mom is not a bad cook. In fact, she’s a great cook. A REALLY great cook.I just don’t like stuffed peppers…or so I thought.
You see, once I actually started eating stuffed peppers that didn’t involve green peppers and ground beef, I discovered that they don’t have to be such a heavy meal. In fact, I became just short of obsessed, stuffing them with all sorts of things to see how they would turn out. Some winners, some not.
I don’t usually make them the same way twice. I like to stuff them with whatever I have in the fridge. A good tip here– It’s a great way to use up leftovers! And that is how these stuffed peppers came about.
A bunch of leftovers. Some asparagus, cooked rice, a chicken breast, roma tomatoes, and a little bit of fresh mozzarella.
They were so good that I immediately wrote the recipe down just so I’d be sure that I could recreate them. The star ingredient in these peppers is the fresh dill. It has such a distinct flavor and goes really well with the other ingredients. It reminds me of spring and these are the perfect spring dinner. Not to heavy but loaded with flavor!
- 4 large yellow or orange bell peppers, 1/4 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine
- 6 oz (about 8 stalks) asparagus, cleaned, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 roma tomatoes, diced
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 cups cooked white or brown rice
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup chicken stock, divided
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
- In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion and asparagus and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Remove from heat and transfer asparagus/onion mixture into a bowl.
- In the same pan you cooked the vegetables in, return to stove and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken breasts. Season them liberally with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until browned and cooked through.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board and dice into bite size pieces. Put pan back on burner and turn to medium-high. Add 1/2 chicken stock to pan and scrape up any brown bits in bottom of pan. Turn heat off.
- Back into the pan, add asparagus/onion mixture, diced chicken, cooked rice, diced roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place peppers cut-side up in a baking dish. Divide filling evenly among peppers. Pour remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock into base of baking dish. Cover peppers with foil and bake until filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove peppers from oven and remove the foil. Turn oven to broil. Put peppers back into oven for 3-5 minutes until tops of peppers are browned. Serve immediately.
*If the peppers are small or medium in size, this might fill five or even six peppers.