I saw some gorgeous Cubanelle peppers at Mourelatos and thought I’d find a recipe for them. Despite their name, they are Italian chill peppers. They are delicious, fresh tasting with just a tiny bit of heat and have a slightly thinner flesh than bell peppers. They are also sometimes called Italian frying peppers.
I can’t really make up recipes on the fly, its not my strength. I seem to lack that which my mother has… a talent to make delicious meals instinctively. She says it will come to me with time. I don’t know when though. I am turning 37 (gasp) in a week and still, it hasn’t happened. Although today, I must have lucked-out after two failed recipe attempts last week, which I won’t elaborate on but they had something to do with an apple-pie braid and a chill pepper salmon thing.
I used the traditional procedure for stuffed peppers – meat, sauce and rice but I added a little Mexican flare by incorporating my favourite tex-mex shredded cheese blend and a dash of cumin which go so well with cubanelles.
“Taco and Nacho” Mexican shredded cheese blend by Black Diamond is my fav, found at my local Metro store. It contains 6 different mild mexican cheeses as well as a little jalapeno and cumin. Its shredded thin and melts nicely into this dish. Regular Kraft Tex-Mex will do I guess.
Dainty brand wild and long grain rice blend. (Got it for free at IGA and now I’m hooked) Its more delicious than other brands but I’m not sure why.
Choose cubanelles that are straight-ish in shape for easy stuffing. Some cubanelles have twisted bottoms and those will prove difficult to stuff properly or sufficiently.
- 6 cubanelle peppers (red and/or green) – slice off the very top of each pepper and remove seeds. Finely slice up the tops and set aside, discarding the stems.
1lb of lean ground veal
1 cup (qty before cooking) of Dainty Long grain and Wild rice blend, cook according to package instructions, set aside
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of your favourite tomato sauce. ( A good store-bought brand is Classico Abbruzzi , Pork and Beef)
1/2 cup of shredded Black Diamond Taco and Nacho cheese blend.
Tools: small casserole dish and skillet
Preheat your oven to to 350F
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of your casserole dish and set aside.
Pour two counts of olive oil into your skillet and heat on medium heat.
Saute onion and garlic until soft (salt onions a little while cooking)
Add ground veal to your skillet and break down with a wooden spoon. Cook until almost done.
Add sliced peppers (from pepper tops) into the meat and sauté until slightly softened. When meat seems fully cooked…
Add a couple of dashes of cumin along with your desired amount of Taco and Nacho cheese and fold into the meat.
Check meat for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
Add rice and tomato sauce (reserving about 1/2 cup) and combine with meat. Again you may like it saucy – adjust to your liking.
Stuff each pepper with mixture using a large spoon, making sure to press it down to the very bottom of each pepper and fill to the top.
Arrange peppers into the casserole dish. Add reserved sauce on top but do not cover the whole top. (Leave some parts of the peppers bare)
Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Remove foil and broil for a few minutes until tops have just started to char (this will add that gorgeous roasted pepper taste. Otherwise the peppers will just be steamed.
More info on Cubanelle peppers http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Cubanelle_Italian_Green_Chile_peppers_9955.php