Mexican-Inspired Stuffed Bell Peppers

We, the Turks, love dolma, also known as stuffed bell peppers abroad. The dolma is a dish enjoyed but many, hence it’s no surprise that Turkey is the fourth biggest producer of bell and chili peppers. The type of bell pepper commonly used by the Turkish for dolma is green, much smaller than the red and yellow california bell peppers I used in this recipe and have thinner walls.

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The differences between this recipe and classic Turkish dolma doesn’t end there. When making the dolma, whether using meat or not- the stuffing isn’t cooked prior to filling. The peppers are usually filled by cutting a small piece off the stems to put back on afterwards and not cutting them in halves. Or you may choose to close the filled pepper with a piece of tomato too. It’s usually cooked in a pot with the lid closed and is put to rest for a couple hours to rest and cool down.

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This recipe is an altered version of this recipe, except I replaced the ground turkey and turkey sausage with ground beef and beef sausage. I also used freshly chopped tomatoes instead of salsa sauce and added in cottage cheese. Disclaimer: I’m not Mexican in anyway and have only enjoyed Mexican cuisine as someone interested in the culture. This recipe doesn’t represent Mexican culture in any way, but to provide inspiration.

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Mexican Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers (adapted from Little Broken Blog)

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Serves: 12 halves, approximately

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 250 grams of ground beef
  • 80 grams of beef sausage (2 long ones)
  • 2 tomatoes peeled, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Cumin, salt, pepper, dried oregano, 1 teaspoon each
  • a small can of canned corn (approximately 220 grams)
  • a can of of dark red kidney beans (approximately 400 grams)
  • a cup of cottage cheese
  • 6 large bell peppers
  • 60 mililiters of water
  • half a cup of gouda cheese, grated

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Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F degrees.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the ground beef and sausage, and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes, while breaking up with a spoon.
  3. Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, cumin, and oregano. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer partially covered for 20-23 minutes, while stirring occasionally. The liquid will cook down to almost none.
  4. Stir in corn and beans, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in chopped cilantro.
  5. Season the inside of bell peppers lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon generous amount of meat mixture into each pepper half and place in a large baking dish. You want the peppers sitting snuggly in the baking dish.
  6. Pour water on the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40-50 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  7. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle each pepper evenly with cheese, cover tightly with foil and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Heat from the peppers will melt the cheese.
  8. Bon appétit!

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