Food culture fascinates me and this is where my connection to everything food begins.
I have often wondered if Americans really have a cuisine that they can call their own. A cuisine that rivals and matches the bragging rights of other world cuisines. My response? Yes, we do, devoid of canned Spam, McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the other voluminous food chains with a drive thru. Americans do indeed have a diverse food cuisine. Our Native American ingredients included tomatoes, corn, yams, sweet potatoes and a variety of beans. These ingredients were unknown in Europe and Africa (Yes folks, spaghetti sauce is a relatively new food dish making it’s appearance in Italian cookbooks around 1790). Early European, Spanish and African influences and modern day immigration to the United States provided a wealth of available ingredients, flavors and cuisines that over the generations have fused together and become American.
Stuffing vegetables is a traditional practice around the world. Stuffing vegetables in American cuisine usually involves the bell pepper.
Here is my personal recipe for American style stuffed peppers.
American Style Stuffed Bell Peppers
2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
1lb. good quality chorizo sausage, crumbled (squeezed out of the casing)
1 large onion, chopped finely
3 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
4 large bell peppers, tops cut away, bottoms trimmed slightly to stand up flat, and seeds removed (note: I use the peppers from the bottom trim to add to the mixture.)
15.5 oz black beans, drained
1 cup long grained rice
8 oz. good crumbling cheese such as feta, or Mexican crumbling cheese
Salt and pepper
Note: Salsa or a rich flavored tomato sauce is a good choice for topping the peppers while baking.
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add crumbled sausage, onion, chopped leftover bell pepper, and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Note: Continue to break up the sausage while cooking with a spoon.
3. Add rice and saute for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add water (approximately 1 cup), black beans and parsley.
5. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Note: This is a good time to adjust seasonings to taste
6. Pour just enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish about 1/8-inch.
7. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture, place on the cut off tops, and place in the baking dish.
8. Cover tightly with aluminum foil ( to allow the peppers to steam). Bake peppers until the peppers are tender, and the filling is heated through approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours.