Stuffed Red PeppersEver made a stuffed red peppers casserole? While stuffed green peppers are pretty common and easy to make, you don’t hear as much about their red pepper counterparts.

I’ve come across a number of Mexican recipes for stuffed red peppers but wanted to try something a little different. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know anything I can make in one pot is high on my list of cooking options. So creating a stuffed red pepper casserole was a new adventure.

If I can get a little inspiration for a one pot meal from something I’ve either bought in a store or eaten in a restaurant it’s all the better. Deconstructing a restaurant recipe, if only in your head, is half the fun of experimenting.

Cracking the Deli Recipe Code for Stuffed Red Peppers

Stuffed Red PeppersOne of the specialty markets that I frequent has a great deli. I stop there often for their latest version a broccoli salad or a new flavor in chicken wings but occasionally I get out of my comfort zone and try something I wouldn’t normally buy.

Sometimes they offer a one dish meal…a different casserole version of stuffed red peppers with ground turkey and wild rice that I quickly became fond of. Of course, anyone who has shopped at a deli knows it’s not the cheapest alternative at a food market.

Why This Stuffed Red Peppers Casserole Rules

Stuffed Red Pepper SeasoningsBecause I like to experiment, I decided to try to re-create their recipe for stuffed red peppers since they weren’t willing to give it up.

One of my frustrations in re-inventing this casserole was a single seasoning or spice I couldn’t quite put my finger on. To the deli’s credit, in preserving their secret, their list of ingredients on the Nutrition label simply said “seasoning” without detailing specifically what they were.

Long story short and more attempts than I care to admit to, I finally was able to duplicate their recipe to my satisfaction…and that secret seasoning? Fennel. Here it is and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Turkey & Wild Rice Stuffed Red Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
The secret flavor that make this work is fennel.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice (Quick Cook)
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds ground
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey
  • 1 can Tomato Paste (8 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Small Sweet Onion Diced
  • 3 Large Red Peppers, topped and halved
  • 1 cup Chopped Mushrooms (Optional)
  • Sesame Oil and Olive Oil (1 tablespoon each)
  • 1 can Chicken Broth (low sodium)
Instructions
  1. Mix Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice per package microwave directions.
  2. Cook rice 8 minutes covered in the microwave.
  3. After 8 minutes add 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds, stir, cover and cook 1 additional minute on high.
  4. In dutch oven, heat sesame oil and olive oil.
  5. Add diced sweet onion.
  6. Cut the tops off the red peppers, remove ribs and seeds and dice tops.
  7. Add diced red pepper tops to onions in dutch oven.
  8. Saute until onions are clear but not brown (about 6 minutes)
  9. Add in ground turkey and black pepper.
  10. Cook until ground turkey is crumbled.
  11. Add wild rice mixture, whole can of tomato paste, parmesan cheese, dark brown sugar with just enough chicken broth to moisten so mixture is not stiff but not runny.
  12. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  13. Cut red peppers in half length wise. Lay halves end to end in a 9x13 greased glass baking pan.
  14. Spoon wild rice and turkey mixture in red pepper halves.
  15. Add about ⅓ cup chicken broth to baking dish for moisture.
  16. Cover baking dish with foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Notes
TIP: Ground fennel is sometimes hard to find. I use fennel seeds and grind them in my coffee grinder. The flavor is really fresh when using seeds you've just ground yourself.