If you like fresh corn, tomatoes, and peppers this is the peak season for delicious, locally grown produce. For my money these are some of the best, most flavorful foods available and need very little culinary technique to enjoy them. Slice a home-grown tomato, sprinkle on a little salt, maybe a little balsamic vinegar, and enjoy. Fresh corn on the cob roasted on the grill, or boiled, accompanied with a generous amount of butter and salt – there’s nothing better. After a morning visit to one of our local fresh produce markets we came home laden with tomatoes, corn, peppers, radishes, blueberries, and some local, grass-fed ground beef. And before we left the market we had to try some just-picked corn on the cob – amazingly delicious.
I have been waiting impatiently for the good local corn to show up so that I could try the Corn Fritters recipe I found in a recent edition of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. This is a super-simple preparation from the people who perfect recipes for things that you thought could not be improved upon. Trust me, this is one well worth trying. So are the Maple/Chipotle and Red Pepper sauces that accompany the fritters. We could have made a meal on the fritters alone. Absolutely, drop-dead delicious!
But we needed to save room for the stuffed peppers. This is a great way to enjoy summer’s bounty – home-grown bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions. I’ve tried several different stuffed pepper recipes and this one is my favorite. It is not highly seasoned so the vegetables shine. There’s grated cheddar cheese to add some creamy richness and rice to soak up all those tasty juices. I used local, grass-fed ground beef, not too lean. You can add corn or black beans if you like but you really don’t need to. Here’s my recipe for Stuffed Peppers.
- 6 medium bell peppers - any color
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 2-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (3 medium)
- 1-1/2 cups cooked rice
- Optional: Kernels from 1 ear fresh corn
- Optional: ¾ cup canned black beans, rinsed
- Optional: Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste
- Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. In a deep pan, cook peppers in boiling water until crisp-tender (6-8 minutes). Drain and let cool slightly.
- Brown the beef, onion. Add salt. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, and corn and/or beans, if using. Simmer 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add cheese, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and hot sauce (if using).
- Stuff peppers with meat mixture. Place in a baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 - 30 minutes or until heated through and peppers are tender.