Friday, May 28, 2010

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

So I’m going to get a little opinionated here for a second: I think most people eat way too much meat. I’m not saying that we all need to be vegetarians and embrace tofu, but I think the notion that meat should make up the bulk of most meals is downright ridiculous. What’s more, this idea has led to a system of producing cheap meat that is entirely unsustainable and bad for our bodies, the environment, etc.

I am by no means ahead of the curve on this issue, and have really only thought about where my meat comes from in the past year or two, after reading this book and watching this film. Since then I have made an effort to only buy properly raised meat* and adopt Michael Pollan’s philosophy when incorporating it into meals: “eating a little meat isn’t going to kill you, though it might be better approached as a side dish than a main.”

The recipe that follows is perfect for a dinner made following that principle. These peppers are hearty and filling enough to be a meal in themselves, so any meat you serve with them would be a dinner footnote, not the main event. I’m not particularly fond of meat so I’m fine eating these peppers on their own with a salad on the side, but for people like my carnivorous husband a small piece of grilled steak or chicken would serve as a great accompaniment.

I got this recipe from my friend Stefanie, and the original version can be found on her blog here. I modified it both to make it meatless and use the ingredients I had on hand. I served these with some sliced avocado and salsa on top, as well as a little additional sour cream, but they are flavorful enough not to need that kind of embellishment. I guess I just like to gild the lily sometimes.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Bell Peppers
(Sorry, no picture this time. But seeing as the photos I post on here are usually quite ghetto I don't think you're missing much)

1 cup brown rice
½ small yellow or white onion, diced
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
1 Tbs. Chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ cup sour cream (I only used a few tablespoons- just enough to bind the filling)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 large bell peppers (preferably red, orange, or yellow)**, trimmed, seeded and cut in half, lengthwise
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese.

1) Cook rice according to package directions
2) Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until transluscent, about 3 minutes.
3) Add dry seasonings, corn, beans, rice, and sour cream to the onions (I sprinkled a little of the cheese in, too). Heat through.
4) Remove pan from heat and add cilantro.
5) Stuff filling into pepper halves and arrange in a greased pan.
6) Sprinkle cheese on top and cover with foil.
7) Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft and cheese is melted. Remove foil for last ten minutes of baking.

*A cost-effective way to buy quality meat is through local farms, like this one. They only sell in bulk though, so I am always looking for people to split these shares with. Let me know if you’re interested.
**Green peppers are actually just red bell peppers that have been picked earlier, so they are less sweet and more tough. I don’t really care for them in this recipe, but that might just be a matter of personal preference.

1 comment:

  1. I agree over and over again, especially after reading Michael Pollan's book. That book will change your life and all you think about food.

    Thanks for the link for the local farm. I am going to look into that. Not only is meat like that better for you, it also tastes much better. Same with farm fresh eggs. I have never been the same since I had my first real farm fresh egg.