When I first received my copy of the soon-to-be-released Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor Cookbook, I did what I always do. I grabbed a notebook and pen and sat down to explore my new book. One of my favorites things to do with a new cookbook is write a list of all the recipes I want to try. Usually my list is about half a page long. This time, however, I opened my Muy Bueno cookbook and once my pen hit the paper it never came back up. Soon I realized that I literally wanted to make every single recipe.
Instead of listing every recipe in the book I decided to catalog the top few that drew my attention the most. The recipes destined for my kitchen right away. Let me tell ya...that took awhile. However, there was one recipe that was so colorful it drew me in, bell peppers in a rainbow of colors stuffed with a hearty mix of ground beef and potatoes.
Stuffed peppers are special to me. My Mom's specialty always was and continues to be her stuffed peppers. She makes an awesome stuffed pepper filled with beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese. They are a real hit around here. Mom's stuffed peppers are so good that I never even attempted to make stuffed peppers myself. Until now.
This recipe, from the Muy Bueno cookbook, is different enough that it simply can't be compared to Mom's stuffed peppers. My Mom's recipe is more about the filling where in this Muy Bueno version I feel like the bell pepper itself is the star. You really taste the pepper. This version is very fresh and feels almost virtuous, perfect for this time of year when temperatures still remain high but comfort food is calling.
Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Beef and Potatoes
Pimientos Rellenos con Picadillo
Makes 3 stuffed bell peppers
3 bell peppers (your choice of color)
1 batch picadillo (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (I subbed feta cheese)
cilantro, for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped roma tomatoes
1 small russet potato, peeled and finely chopped
To make picadillo: In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent. Add ground beef and brown, Using a potato masher, mash meat so you have small pieces of meat with no big chunks. Drain off excess grease. Add garlic, salt, tomatoes, and potatoes and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are done. Salt to taste.
To make the stuffed peppers: Preheat the oven to 350F. Make picadillo for stuffing the bell peppers (see above). Rinse the peppers, Cut the tops off and remove the white flesh and seeds. Rinse out the inside of each pepper. In a large stockpot parboil the peppers, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how soft you want them to be in the final dish. Remove the peppers and drain any excess water that is inside them.
Brush each pepper with olive oil. Heat up a comal (or griddle) and place the peppers on their side on the comal, about 1 minute on each side, just long enough to sear the sides of each pepper.
Prepare a baking dish (about 10.5 inches by 7 inches/a bread loaf pan would be perfect) that will accommodate your 3 peppers. Spray the dish with cooking spray to keep the peppers from sticking to it. Pour about 1/4 inch water into pan.
Stuff each pepper with some picadillo and place it in the baking dish. Cover with foil and crimp the edges onto the dish creating a seal. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Plate 1 pepper per plate, top with crumbled queso fresco (or feta), and garish with cilantro.
This post is part of the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef*
Stay tuned for next week when I will be hosting a Muy Bueno Cookbook Review and Giveaway! You don't want to miss out on a chance to win a copy of this gorgeous book!