Tender peppers stuffed with spiced meat, flavorful rice, and melty cheese. The whole package. Makes 8 halved stuffed peppers in about 1 hour.
4 large bell peppers, sliced in half length-wise (any color works!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz shredded cheese* --pepper jack is my favorite, but Colby jack or Monterey jack work great, too!
Salt and pepper, to taste
*It's worth it to buy block cheese and shred it yourself. It melts and tastes so much better. But if you must, pre-shredded is fine.
For the rice:
1 1/2 cup of uncooked long grain or short grain rice
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon butter
3 cups chicken broth (or sub 3 cups water with 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
For the meat:
1 lb ground beef (I use 85/15)
2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 1 sachet store-bought taco seasoning
1/3 cup water
Extra red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper if you like it spicy. If you want your butt to hate you, try my favorite: a 1/8 teaspoon of Trader Joe's smoked ghost chili flakes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush the insides of the bell pepper with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Once the oven is preheated, roast the peppers for 15 minutes (or until they're tender) and set them aside.
Start the rice. In a small pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a neutral oil on medium heat until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the butter and allow it to melt. Then mix in the rice and toast the rice until it becomes a more opaque beige color, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and tomato paste and bring the mixture to a boil as you stir. Turn the heat to a simmer. Cover almost completely, leaving a small vent for steam and set a timer for 18 minutes.
In a separate pan, brown the ground beef. Add the taco seasoning. Once there's no more pink, add the water and reduce until the liquid is absorbed.
Stuff the peppers with the rice and meat. There's no right way to stuff a pepper. You can mix the ground beef and rice together, or put them into separate layers. Make sure they're compact by pressing the filling down with a spoon.
Top with your shredded cheese and place in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and hot sauce!