Stuffed Bell Peppers
adapted from Gourmet, serves 2 as main dish
3 whole red bell peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 medium sized zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup roughly chopped baby portabello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Halve 2 of the whole bell peppers lengthwise, leaving the stem ends intact, core and seed them, and blanch in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes, or until just tender. Remove the peppers and invert them on paper towels to drain.
In a heavy skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion, the 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, tomato, and garlic, stirring, for 15 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the heated broth and salt and pepper to taste, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the rice is barely tender. Stir in the almonds, zucchini, mushrooms, cumin, cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce. Divide the mixture among the bell pepper shells, mounding it. Bake the stuffed peppers in an oiled baking dish, covered, in a preheated 350°F. oven for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
*This dish would be fabulous topped with a Mexican cheese like queso fresco or a nice crema. If you use queso fresco, sprinkle over the peppers just before the final 2 minutes of baking so it melts just slightly.