Before two years ago, I’d never seen a tomatillo. I’m sure I’ve had them often in Mexican food, but I’d never actually seen one. Fast forward to this year and we’re actually growing them! Our tomatillo plant is producing like gangbusters. I think we have about 30 tomatillos on there right now and double that many blossoms! So I’ve been on a hunt recently to figure out how to cook them.
Tomatillos are perfect in salsa. They have a very firm flesh and a citrusy tangy bite that reminds me of a cross between a tomato and an apple. Plus, they come in this little papery shell that is actually kind of fun to work with. We wanted our first tomatillo recipe to be something other than salsa, so we settled on this recipe for stuffed peppers with tomatillo sauce.
Stuffed Peppers with Tomatillo Sauce, loosely adapted from Big Oven
- 4 bell peppers
- 2 medium to large onions, chopped and divided
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar, divided
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2-3 large tomatoes, pureed
- 1 cup emmer or brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 1.25 lbs tomatillos, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- Cheese (see notes)
Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds and the ribs.
Broil the peppers (or roast them on the grill) until the skins are starting to blister. Remove them and place them in a paper bag and let them cool.
Remove the blistered skin and then cut down the side of each pepper lengthwise. These peppers are going to be sort of open-faced.
Meanwhile, cook the rice or emmer and set aside.
In a large pan, cook the 1 cup of the onions, garlic, and 1 Tbsp of the Balsamic vinegar for about 5 minutes.
Next add the peppers, cumin, red pepper flakes, and the pureed tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
Mix in with the rice or emmer and some cheese (maybe 1/4 cup) and remove from heat.
Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture and place them in a pan greased with a little bit of oil or lard.
Peel the papery skins off the tomatillos and rinse well.
Cut the tomatillos into chunks and process in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth.
In a pan, cook the remaining onions until soft.
Add the tomatillo puree, the cilantro, and the chopped tomatoes and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
Spread some of the tomatillo sauce around and over the peppers. Top with more cheese and bake for 10 minutes to warm everything.
Optional: Turn on the broiler for 2-5 minutes to brown the cheese.
Chef’s Notes: Well, I didn’t actually love this recipe. So why am I suggesting a recipe I didn’t love? Because I didn’t love it simply because I don’t love stuffed peppers. I often find them to be too much pepper and too little stuffing (in this case as well). However this recipe was unquestionably good. The stuffing was flavorful and the tomatillo sauce was very refreshing. You could even make the stuffing alone and serve it with tortilla chips and the tomatillo sauce or even serve inside tortillas.
Regarding the cheese: We used about 1/4 lb of Just Jack from Beecher’s cheese. We mixed half into the stuffing and then sprinkled the rest on top. You could use any mild cheese.
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