poblano and red bell peppers stuffed with saffron rice

by Stevie on February 3, 2011

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I was desperate to create something lively and flavorful for dinner the other night without a huge amount of prep or excessive amounts of grocery shopping. Inexplicably, our fridge was filled with beautiful poblano and red bell peppers, so I thought, “Why not stuff these?”

poblano and red bell peppers stuffed with saffron rice

poblano and red bell peppers stuffed with saffron rice

Visually, stuffed peppers are always a delight. Don’t you agree? Marcella Hazan has a really tasty recipe for peppers stuffed with eggplant and anchovies. Yum! I even like them when the stuffing gets all over the place, like when I made chile rellenos. Messy can be very good.

The problem with a lot of these recipes is that they require you to remove the outer skin of the pepper. That is a lot of work! And it is the step in which I’ll inevitably accidentally destroy the peppers, thus stuffing them becomes difficult to impossible. Well, thank goodness for the 1997 Joy of Cooking. That book came to the rescue again. In their stuffed pepper dish, they call for steaming the peppers with no peeling at all. This is so much easier, and equally delicious!

I used poblanos as well as reds. The recipe in the book calls only for the reds. Also I used pepitas instead of pine nuts, added more herbs than they recommended as well as capers and green olives to give the dish a little kick.

These stuffed peppers had an extremely delicate flavor that was marvelous. We preferred the poblanos over the reds as they had a more complex taste. We ate ours with arugula salad and an extremely aromatic pinot noir from Eric Kent. What a memorable meal!

poblano and red bell peppers stuffed with saffron rice

2 fresh poblano peppers
2 fresh medium red bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut in thin slices
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 pinch saffron threads
1½ cups basmati rice, well rinsed
2½ cups vegetable stock
2 cups shredded provolone cheese
¼ cup pepitas, lightly toasted in a dry pan
¼ cup each chopped basil, parsley and cilantro
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
¼ cup green olives and capers

Carefully cut peppers in half to create little boat-shapes while preserving stems as much as possible. Remove inner seeds and ribs. Steam for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool under running water. Set aside.

steaming poblano and red bell peppers:  I took off the lid for this picture

steaming poblano and red bell peppers: I took off the lid part-way through steaming for this picture

Sauté onion, garlic and saffron in olive oil on medium heat until onions start to brown (about five minutes). Add rice and stir to mix with oil. Add vegetable stock. Bring to boil then lower temperature to simmer, covered, until rice gets cooked and all the water gets absorbed (about 10 to 15 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Pour cooled rice in a large bowl. Add cheese, fresh herbs, pepitas, salt, black pepper and olives and capers. Gently stir.

Carefully fill peppers with rice mixture. Place them in an oven-proof baking dish, fitting them tightly together. After all peppers are stuffed, carefully pour ¼ cup water around them into the base of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for thirty minutes to warm through.

Serve with salad.

stuffed peppers crowded together ready for the oven

stuffed peppers crowded together ready for the oven

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon February 3, 2011 at 8:04 am

These look AMAZING!! And I can just say, they definitely look better than mine! Lol. I bet it tastes so good with all the herbs you used. I would be happy just eating a bowl of that rice!

Shelley February 3, 2011 at 8:33 am

The stuffed peppers look marvelous! I’ll have to try the tip on steaming the peppers instead of roasting them to peel off the skin. I always use a kitchen torch to char the skin and then I rub it off with paper towels. Takes forever and makes a big mess. Thanks for passing that along!

Tom @ Tall Clover Farm February 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

This will be a must make when peppers are in the garden — love everything in the recipe. Now where’s a pic Clarence, I need to see that cute bulldog of yours. Well wishes, Tom (Boz and Gracie)

Stevie February 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm


There’s a cute pic of Clarence at the top of this post about the 2009 Bordeaux vintage. Cheers and thanks for checking us out!

Lili February 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Wow, this looks DELICIOUS! Im a rice lover baby. And yes – stuffed peppers are amazing.
What are ‘pepitas’?

Heguiberto February 9, 2011 at 9:01 am

We love rice too I think we have it at least 3 times every week. This stuffed peppers recipe came out good 🙂
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds, sementes de abóbora,

oum mouncifrayan February 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm

excellent recipe! i love it!

rita tower September 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I was inspired by your peppers as I just got a bunch of red bells. I mashed up some silky tofu and then added a couple table spoons of seseme oil…spices and chopped onions. I then made some barely cause I had some left and sauted that with broth and onions and garlic and eggplant chopped up and stuffed all that into the peppers. I am going to cook them for a half hour as you say and Oh I did steam them slightly before putting them in the oven. I look foward to the tasty dinner!
Thanks for the lovely directions.

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