Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fire Roasted Stuffed Bell Peppers

Sometimes we "live fire" cookers do things on the grill for the same reason that canines lick their nether regions.....because we can. Case in point, the Bacon Explosion that has been all over the interwebs. Why would you wrap bacon in sausage then wrap it in bacon and smoke it? Because we can.

I love grilling, smoking, and roasting things on my Big Green Egg, but I have to admit that sometimes I question, "Why?" when approaching a recipe.

Actually all things considered equal, I love cooking with live fire. So as long as cooking it by fire doesn't distract from the dish, I guess the question is, "Why not?"

Cooking by fire should be considered like any other ingredient. If or how much of it you add to the dish can contribute to or distract from the final product.

Tonight was a perfect example of the "adding to" and how live fire can really complete a dish! The hint of char sweetened the sugars in the peppers, tomato and topping sauce. You could smell the difference as they came off the cooker and the taste was rich.

Chris' Fire Roasted Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 cup long grain rice
1 3/4 cup water
saffron threads
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 ea yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, casing removed and broken up into small pieces
1 tablespoon garlic, roasted
1/4 c cilantro or parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 ea roma tomatoes
1 cup colby jack cheese (divided in half)
5 ea green bell peppers
8 oz tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Bring water and saffron to a boil, add rice, reduce, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes.

Cross cut the tomatoes 1/4 inch on the top and blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds then dump in a bowl of ice and water. Peel skins, quarter and remove seeds. Dice into 1/4 inch pieces.

Cut the top 1/4th off of the bell peppers, remove seeds and ribs. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes and then cool in a bowl of ice and water.

Saute the onion in oil for 4-5 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook until just slightly browned.

Mix the rice, chorizo mixture, parsley or cilantro, 1/2 of the cheese, tomato sauce and tomatoes.

Stuff peppers with the rice mixture.

Mix the ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Spoon over the stuffed peppers.

Preheat your cooker to 325 to 350f indirect heat (0r oven). Cook stuffed peppers for 30 minutes.

Top with remaining cheese and cook another 15 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

And now, the footage. Some of the lead characters.

TIP: Steep the saffron threads in 1/4 cup of hot water (from the 1 3/4 c water) before making the rice. Get the remaining water boiling, add the rice, and then this last 1/4 cup. That way you are not boiling out all the flavor of saffron.

Over stuff the peppers, they will cook down some.

My favorite shot of the night. That's just purdy!

While these would work in an oven, the subtle smokiness that these picked up was immaculate. It was definitely worth doing these on the grill.

My mom's stuffed bell peppers where one of my favorite meals as a kid. I've never been able to get that exact same "wow factor". Tonight, I surpassed it.

In my mom's defense....she never had a Big Green Egg :)