Look no further for the perfect family meal treat, y'all! Cause these Cajun stuffed bell peppers are yum-delicious indeed! Garden-grown bell peppers, boiled til super tender. Stuffed with a homemade red gravy, rice, and seasoned ground beef/veggie mixture, then topped with two kinds of cheese. Baked til browned and bubbly, this comfort food favorite is a crowd-pleasing winner that's just as beautiful to look at as it is yum-delicious to eat. Yep and yay...
Here a Pepper, There a Pepper, Everywhere a Pepper Pepper...
We're still reaping the lingering fruits of Mark's warm-weather gardening efforts. We have a few random tomatoes on the vine. And much to our surprise and delight, there are lots of green bell peppers growing right outside of our back patio. Most of them will end up chopped and frozen for later use.
But, I counted several ripe-and-ready ones the other day. So, I thought it was high time that I whipped up a batch of Cajun stuffed bell peppers. I'm really into my Paleo Creole shrimp stuffed peppers with cauliflower rice. However, Mark isn't so much. He likes the flavors but was raised on real rice. And therefore isn't really satiated by the cauliflower replacement.
And, I Decided to Go Old School With This One, Y'all...
So, I decided to surprise him with a batch of what he considers to be 'the real thing.' So, brace yourselves, y'all. These Cajun stuffed bell peppers take a bit of time to make. But, I promise that they are indeed worth it. These are old-school beef stuffed peppers using fresh, homemade ingredients at each step of the way.
But, you can make this recipe easier on yourself if you prep one or more of the ingredients groups the day before. And, you can double or even triple the recipe to vacuum seal and freeze for later. So, when you take these bonuses into consideration, this recipe is a keeper that becomes second nature to you after your first try.
How to Make Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers
Start the Cajun stuffed bell peppers by making a fresh pot of rice on the stove. Don't worry. I've taken all of the guesswork out of stovetop rice for you. And you and find the detailed instructions right here:
Then, whip up the very simple homemade red gravy, and let it simmer down for a bit:
Now, remove the top of each of your peppers. Deseed them, too. Then, remove as many of the inner white membranes as you can. These membranes can make the peppers taste a bit bitter if you don't. However, don't get so caught up in it that you puncture the pepper. Just do the best that you can and get them boiling in the water. I did two batches since I had seven peppers and I didn't want to crowd the pot.
The most important part of this step is not removing the peppers until they've turned military green. They're now super tender and ready to be stuffed and eaten:
Next, brown chopped onion and celery in a cast iron skillet:
And when the veggies look like this:
Add the ground beef and seasoning and garlic, and cook down. When browned, drain over a colander to get rid of the excess grease:
Once drained, return to the skillet and add the rice:
And then add most of the homemade red gravy:
Finally, pour the last bit of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 10-inch cast iron skillet. Use a large spoon to fill the peppers with the stuffing:
And top each one of the Cajun stuffed bell peppers with as much or as little cheese as you like before popping them into the preheated oven:
And that's it, y'all!!
I know that this recipe seems like a lot of work. But honestly, the process goes quickly and finishes seamlessly. So, don't let all of the ingredients and longish steps list stop you from making this soul-warming dish.
The boiled peppers hold the super flavorful stuffing perfectly. And the cheese on top comes out like a 'crust' whose inviting browned appearance turns the pre-meal anticipation dial all the way up to the top. And that is indeed a very fun, very memorable dinnertime thing.
Share with those whose love for you is the multi-layered real thing. And see y'all on the yum side...
Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 ½ cups cooked rice
- 5 to 8 green bell peppers, tops, seeds and membranes removed
For the Red Gravy
For the Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
- Parmesan and pepper Jack cheeses for topping each pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook rice on the stove. Then, measure out 1 ½ cups for the peppers. Set aside. You will have about half a pot of rice leftover to use in another dish.
- Pour all of the red gravy ingredients into a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Heat a large pot of boiling water on the stove.
- When boiling, submerge the peppers into the water in batches of three or four.
- Boil until the peppers soften and turn military green, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove each boiled pepper carefully with kitchen tongs. Then, transfer to a colander to drain.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Then add the butter or oil and chopped onion and celery to the skillet.
- When the onion and celery are almost browned, add the ground beef.
- When the ground beef is browned, add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Drain the meat and veggies to remove the excess beef fat.
- Return the meat and veggies to the skillet. Then, add the 1 ½ cups of cooked rice and almost all of the red gravy. Stir until well-combined.
- Reserve a bit of the tomato gravy to pour into the bottom of the skillet that you will use to bake the peppers.
- Use a large spoon to fill each boiled pepper with the stuffing.
- Then, top each pepper with Parmesan and pepper Jack cheeses.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers are cooked through and the cheese is browned and melty.
- Let the peppers rest 5 minutes before serving.