Inside Stories

Wine & Dine: Stuffed Peppers and Pinot Noir

by Ellen Andre

(In this series we look at simple, everyday recipes…easy to prepare, with readily available ingredients.  We will also look at wine to pair with the particular dish.  Yet, as I often say, all that matters is what you like)

Our cooking adventure continues as we search for simple and delicious recipes.

Last time I shared a brief history of pasta carbonara and wondered if this meal had some history as well.  To my surprise it has a lengthy story and is a common dish in many cuisines.

The Cantonese version of stuffed peppers is a common street food called “Three Fried Stuffed Treasures”.  What makes their version unique is they add sausage and fish paste.

In Spain, they are called “Pimientos Rellenos”.  Usually Piquillo peppers are used.  The fillings might include manchego cheese, chicken, or cod with red sauce.

India offers a more unique version called “Bharvan Mirch”.  It might include cooked meat, potatoes, onions and is seasoned with chili, turmeric, coriander, cilantro, salt and lemon juice.  The peppers are usually browned in a fry pan or baked in an oven until the peppers are scorched.

Eastern Mediterranean are called dolma which means “something stuffed”.  Today dolmas are made usually with whole vegetables including whole peppers.  Dolma dishes are found in Balkan, Caucasian, Arab, Israeli, Turkish and central Asian cuisine.

In addition, stuffed peppers are found in Guatemala, Nordic and Baltic countries, Central and Southeast Europe.

In North America the basic ingredients used are much the same with some small changes and additions.  Also, personal preferences play a part.

Baked Stuffed Bell Peppers
3 good size bell peppers, to make 6 halves (I like multi-color)
1/2 c. cooked rice
1 lb. hamburg
1/2 c. shredded jack cheese
1/2 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
1/2 jar (28 oz.) good quality tomato sauce, use more if needed
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning or oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and carefully remove stem and seeds, rinse.  Continue with all 6 pieces.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes.

Add hamburg breaking up into small pieces and cook through.

Add rice and half the cheddar jack cheese and half the sauce.

Stir in salt, pepper, Italian seasoning.

Stuff the peppers generously but without firmly packing and top with one spoon of sauce and some shredded jack.

Use an oven safe dish placing peppers against each other and place a small amount of water 1/4”, in bottom of dish.

Cover with foil and cook 30-40 minutes until pepper is tender.

If pepper still seems hard, cook for another few minutes uncovered.

If you’d like to pair a wine with this, I suggest a dry red such as Pinot Noir.  A good value is Juggernaut Pinot for about $20.  Aging this wine for an average of 12 months in a combination of new and used French oak barrels imparts hints of vanilla, waffle cone and toasty oak. With medium acidity and tannins, this expressive wine complements a wide range of foods.

4 responses to “Wine & Dine: Stuffed Peppers and Pinot Noir”

  1. Nancy Petrillo says:

    What a great recipe and wine pairing! Will definitely try this one out!

  2. Irene Finneral says:

    Can’t wait to try this!

  3. Ellen Andre says:

    Thanks, Nancy…. easy, inexpensive and delicious.

  4. Ellen Andre says:

    Hi Irene,
    This is one of those quick and delicious meals. With a little planning you can have leftovers too. Thank you!

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