My wife and I love to cook. We host Thanksgiving and make pretty much everything except desserts. We also host what we call test kitchens, a knockoff of the popular PBS show “America’s Test Kitchen.”
We invite someone over and try a new recipe for the first time. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot, but we live in close proximity to some pretty good Thai restaurants and pizza joints if things really turn out badly. It never has, with the exception of that chocolate cream pie for dessert with a pretzel crust. I get a little disgusted just typing that line.
During football season we pick some easy-to-make tailgate-type food. We’ve done brisket, carnitas, chili, and we even made stuffed hamburgers once that oozed cheese from the inside. Yum.
Lately, I’ve gotten some pretty good recipes to try scrolling through my Facebook feed, amongst the rants about the latest political issue of the day and parental brags.
We stumbled on this keeper a few weeks back and made it our own — stuffed peppers.
But these are not your mother’s stuffed peppers with a mix of ground beef, tomato, and rice.
No, these are a take on classic sub shop fare, the steak and cheese sub. But not stuffing that shaved steak, cheese, onions, and mushrooms into a sub roll; that would be just too many carbs. This time the mixture is stuffed into a pepper.
You need to pick out some pretty good-size peppers to make this dish. I prefer red ones because they’re a little sweeter. Typically, my wife likes the green ones, so when we make them, our casserole dish looks like it’s ready for the Christmas season.
But this time, the red peppers looked a lot better than the green ones, so we stocked up on those.
These stuffed peppers are really easy to make, particularly if you take time to prep the peppers ahead of time, slicing them lengthwise and getting rid of the seeds and stems. You put the sliced peppers in the casserole dish and cook them at 325° for 30 minutes to soften them up.
While those are baking in the oven, you coat the bottom of a sauté pan with vegetable oil. We like to cook up the veggies first. This is where we strayed from the Tasty video in the Facebook feed. We slice up two onions and a pint of mushrooms. We season them with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, and garlic salt. Sorry, we don’t measure. We just eyeball it and let the tantalizing smells waft throughout the kitchen.
About the time we’re done with that, the peppers are nearing the end of their first cook in the oven.
We pull them out, sauté the shaved steak until it is browned — about three minutes, using salt and pepper to season. Then we add the onions and peppers we’ve set aside and mix it all together.
Back to the peppers.
We use sliced provolone as our cheese of choice, although we’ve contemplated switching to a shredded cheese to really simplify things. One slice goes inside the pepper, and then the steak mixture is spooned over that into a heaping mountain of goodness. Add a second slice of provolone to the top, and pop the casserole dish back into the oven, this time on broil. In just about three minutes, the cheese will be melted and you’re ready to pull them out and eat.
One is usually enough for a meal, but you can also serve them over jasmine rice.
I considered having these steak and cheese stuffed peppers for Super Bowl Sunday, but I didn’t want anyone to somehow think I was rooting for that other team where steak and cheese is a claim to fame. (Cheez Whiz, really?)
I’m glad I made the choice I did. We’ve had some great recipes through the years that no longer made the cut because we cooked them up and ate them during a Patriots loss. (Superstitious? Who, me?)
Of course, given the team’s 17-year run of success in the Tom Brady–Bill Belichick era, there have been a lot more winning recipes than losers.