It’s moving day! Finally, our things are arriving in Miami, so The Latin Lover will have a real life and wife, soon! The Goddess was bone-tired, dead on her feet, but we wanted to eat in. What’s easier than Stuffed Peppers? This, right here, is why she loves, loves, loves leftovers. Leftover Island Spiced Pork with Orange-Guava-Onion with Beer and Onion Sauce and Black Beans à la Pressure Cooker to the rescue. These stuffed peppers came together so fast and as you can see, turned out to be a one-skillet meal with…wait for it…leftovers! Lunch tomorrow! See how this works?
First, I’m going to bitch about moving. This is our 11th move. It should have been the easiest, because it’s just The Latin Lover and The Goddess. No progeny. No schools to worry about. But, The Goddess, being the pack-ratress that she is, had to shovel out the house. And I do mean shovel. She was totally overwhelmed, no two ways about it. If it hadn’t been for our Too-Kind-for-Words-North-of-the-Border Friends (who I can never fully repay) and The Middle Son and The Unbound Reader, I’m not certain she would have survived. It’s crazy, too. It’s just getting rid of things. It’s just “stuff”. But, The Goddess has a sentimental streak a mile wide, and all that “stuff” has some terrific memories attached. That’s what made it so difficult. Thank God the dumpster company sent a larger dumpster, because it left full! She’s getting pretty good at coldly pitching things, though that camel-back sofa still slips into her consciousness now and again. But, to reiterate, it’s just a damn sofa. There are other sofas. Moving on….
At any rate, the moving truck arrived. A few things happened along the way that threw curve balls here and there, including an impending hurricane, that thankfully missed us, but there was rain. Of course, it’s summer in Florida; there’s always rain. And rain in Florida is very different from rain up North. It truly does come down in buckets! But, all-in-all things are looking up. The apartment is no longer an echo chamber. It’s amazing what furniture and rugs will fix. Now there are boxes to unpack, and a life to get on with. Life is actually pretty good. And I must say, leftovers saved The Goddess’s bacon yet again. Sure we could have gone out for dinner, but what fun would that have been? Besides, you can fall asleep in your plate at home, but when you’re out, people tend to stare and point, when that happens.
This meal was pretty much all leftovers—Island Spiced Pork, Black Beans, rice, and that incredibly tasty Orange-Guava-Beer with Onion Sauce. There were some lovely green peppers left from our foray with the pressure cooker and chorizo that was ground up for some empanadas I made. I just dumped it into a bowl, stirred it all together, stuffed the mixture into the peppers, popped them into a skillet and into the oven. Thirty minutes later, dinner!
I’ve given you approximate amounts for the filling. The key is to remember that you’ll need about 3-4 cups of filling, which depends a great deal on how large those peppers are. Feel free to change the ingredients around. If you leave the meat out, and increase the beans, then you can keep this vegetarian. If you don’t have a ripe plantain, grate an apple into the mixture or add some chopped raisins or dates. The sweetness is a nice foil for the saltiness of the meat and olives. If you don’t have pork, use leftover chicken or even some diced deli ham would work well. In other words, use what you have on hand or in the fridge.
I will make this again, as we both really enjoyed it. By the way, I think this filling would have been decent rolled into a tortilla, too. But that’s another post!
We both really liked the bread underneath the pepper. I soaked up extra sauce and as you know, sauce is good. Sauce is very good.
Cuban-Style Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers, tops removed, cored and seeds removed
- Stuffing Mixture:
- 1 1/4 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans
- 2/3 cup coarsely chopped or pulled roast pork
- 1/4 cup ground or chopped chorizo
- 1/2 completely ripe plantain (you may omit this, or add a grated apple)
- 1/4 cup alcaparrado (see NOTE)
- 3 tablespoons leftover gravy or broth
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
- 1/3 cup white wine, water or broth
- Extra leftover sauce or gravy for serving
- 4 slices Cuban, French or Italian bread
These measurements are approximate, but you’ll need about 3-4 cups of filling, depending on the size of the peppers. Combine the stuffing ingredients; stir until well combined. Divide into four portions; stuff each pepper with the mixture. Place the top on each pepper; place the peppers into a skillet or oven-proof dish. They should fit somewhat snuggly. Pour the wine into the skillet and place in a 400°oven. It doesn’t matter if it’s preheated or not. Bake until the pepper is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Remember—the handle is screaming hot! Carefully remove the peppers to a platter; set aside.
Deglaze the pan with additional wine/gravy, etc. You want some extra sauce. Place 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on the plate. Place a slice of bread on the sauce, and a pepper on top of the bread slice. Remove the can; drizzle with some extra sauce. Serve with corn or a salad. These hold the heat like crazy and they reheat well.
NOTE: Alcaparrado is a mixture of green olives, capers and pimentos. If you don’t have this in your area, substitute 2-3 tablespoons sliced stuffed, green olives and 1 tablespoon capers for the alcaparrado. This mixture is excellent added to salads, as well. If gluten is an issue omit the bread or use gluten-free bread.
Cuban-Style Stuffed Peppers Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
The alcaparrado I mentioned is available anywhere you can get Latino products. Goya® makes a version, but there are other brands that are just as good. It quite simply is a mixture of green olives, pimentos, and capers. There is always a jar in our fridge. I love to toss a few tablespoons into a tossed salad; great with bleu cheese dressing and pineapple chunks, along with some greens. I spoon the mixture over fish or add a few tablespoons to gravy. It’s just good. You want the “pitted” variety, as pits in olives when you stir them into something like a stuffed pepper are a dental episode waiting to happen. Do look for alcaparrado in your supermarket.
So that’s it! Back to the boxes. I have a kitchen filled with boxes but I have two, count ’em two added work areas! Life just got better….