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I grew up thinking that “stuffed peppers” meant this.  It was one of my dad’s absolute favorite dishes, one he would frequently request in the summer, and I was always thrilled to find it on the stove.  I was terribly disappointed at a friend’s house once, when finding out that to her mom, “stuffed peppers” meant green pepper cups filled with a mixture of rice, ground beef, and tomato sauce.  Not that Mrs. Fowler’s stuffed peppers were bad, mind you – they were actually pretty delicious! – but they were definitely not Nell’s stuffed peppers.

This was a recipe created by my grandmother’s mother, the end of one summer more than a hundred years ago, when her garden was full of corn and peppers and tomatoes and she was at her wits’ end as to what to do with them! 

 

Nell’s Corn-Stuffed Peppers (adapted from recipe created by Emma Zetta Austin)

2 cups corn, either fresh cut off the cob or frozen and thawed

1-2 tomatoes, diced, about 1 cup

1/2 to ¾ cup shredded Colby or cheddar cheese

½ cup fresh (soft) bread crumbs

3 or 4 medium green peppers

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp dried basil (optional)

1 slice raw bacon, cut into 1” strips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Halve green peppers lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes.  Steam in steamer basket 3-5 minutes, or cook in microwavable dish, with ½ cup added water, until just tender.  Drain green pepper “boats” and set aside.

Mix corn, tomato, cheese, crumbs, and seasonings in a medium bowl.  Mixture should be moist enough to stick together well.  Add more bread crumbs if too wet; add water 1 Tbsp. at a time if too dry.  (The moisture level usually depends on that of the tomato.)

Spray baking dish with nonstick spray.  Fill pepper halves with corn mixture and top each with one piece of bacon, if using. Place in baking dish.  Bake 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

These are wonderful with ham or roast beef.  The corn mixture without green peppers is fantastic with baked fish, too.  The recipe may be increased, and filled, unbaked peppers freeze well. 

Because my dad no longer eats peppers at all due to digestive complaints, and two of my kids don’t like them, I often use fewer green peppers and prop them on a bed of the corn mixture.  I sometimes substitute pepper jack cheese for the cheddar; if so, I eliminate the basil.

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