Baked Peppers Stuffed with Ground Beef, Wild Rice & Goat Cheese
It had been a while since I planned a big dinner, and I decided I wanted to make a Mediterranean feast! I had fallen in love with Stuffed Capsicums (Peppers) while I was in Greece, and it was one of the first recipes I tried after buying The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook. I decided to ramp up the recipe this time around after stumbling upon one at Teri’s Kitchen, which added goat cheese and ground beef to the mix. I edited it a bit to work with the ingredients I had on hand and I think the results were delicious!
One disclaimer: I did cheat a bit by just purchasing a box of Wild Rice Pilaf mix… it probably isn’t too difficult to make the wild rice pilaf from scratch (at the bare minimum just cook long grain white rice with chicken stock) but most of the better recipes ask for all these spices and vegetables to add… and while I think I can be fairly motivated in the kitchen… my laziness wins out often. Maybe someday I will try to make Wild Rice and will update this recipe in turn…
Yields: 6 servings
- 6 oz package Long Grain & Wild Rice Pilaf
- 6 large red, yellow or orange peppers (capsicums)
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 6 T dry herb mix (Herbs de Provence, Italian, or whatever dry aromatics you have: basil, thyme, marjoram)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/4 C tomato paste
- 4 oz mild goat cheese, crumbled
- 4 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You can either cut the tops off the peppers or cut the peppers in half vertically. I tried both methods and my verdict: the former method is a bit “prettier” for presentation purposes, but the latter method is a lot easier to eat… so choose whichever you prefer! Remove the membranes and seeds from the peppers and discard.
Blanch the peppers in the boiling water (not the lids) for 2 minutes, then drain and leave upturned to dry on paper towels.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the ground beef until browned, stirring in the fennel and other dry herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the onions and chopped peppers to the pan; cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Remove from heat.
Place the peppers in one layer in a lightly oiled or sprayed baking dish. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef mixture, rice, goat cheese, 3/4 of the diced tomato, tomato paste, and 2 T of Parmesan cheese. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Stuff each pepper with the mixture. Top each pepper with the remaining diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and the remaining 2 T of Parmesan cheese.
Pour 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) boiling water into the dish. Bake, covered (or just replace the lids depending on how you cut the peppers), for 40 minutes or until the peppers are just tender when tested with the point of a small knife.
These can be served warm or cold. Also, try serving with a Greek Salad or with a Falafel Sandwich with Tzatziki.