I gotta be honest with you: This Cubanelle Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe is a blatant ripoff of a Dominican classic: Niño Envuelto. OK, maybe not a blatant ripoff as much as a loving homage. Or somewhere in between.
Much as I love Niños Envueltos, fact is they are a lot of work, so I decided to make a few changes to make it a little healthier, and a lot easier than the original.
Brown rice is a point of contention in this home. I like it, I eat it because it is better for my body than white rice, but I also do like its texture and flavor. But I am a minority of one here.
Both my child and husband hate it: Passionately, vociferously, militantly. No amount of well-laid out argument, pleading, cajoling or threatening seems to convince them. So I sorta gave up.
I can be as hard-headed as they are, and try as much as I can to get them to eat healthier options, like more chicken and fish and less beef, and better grains. Alas, it’s a battle of wits and endurance.
And let me tell you, while I could have endorsed this dish full-heartedly, I had no hopes of getting a positive reaction from my husband. Imagine my surprise when he said “it’s not as bad as I thought”. And that my friends, all things considered, is as good praise as any I could get.
So there you have it: This is a husband-approved dish.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 cups of tomatoes , peeled and seeded
- 2 cloves of garlic , crushed
- ¼ teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper (or to taste)
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large white onion , grated
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 lb [0.45 kg] of ground chicken
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of your preferred hot sauce (or this)
- 1/4 cup of chopped basil
- 8 cubanelle peppers
- A bunch of basil leaves to garnish
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic.
Cover and simmer until the tomatoes are cooked through, mash them with a potato masher. Add oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
While you are making the sauce, soak the rice in enough water to cover it, plus an inch. Let it rest for an hour.
Heat the oil over very low heat, add the onion and garlic, cook and stir until they start to release their aroma. Stir in the chicken, salt, pepper and hot sauce, increase heat to medium and simmer covered for five minutes.
Remove all rice from the water. Add the rice to the pan and stir. Add 1 cup of the water in which the rice was soaked and a cup of the tomato sauce you prepared previously (set the rest aside). Simmer until almost all the liquid evaporates. Cover tightly, lower heat to minimum, and simmer for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the chopped basil.
Preheat oven to 400 ºF [200 ºC].
Cut a slit in the cubanelle peppers and scoop out the seeds and white parts with a small spoon.
Stuff the cubanelle peppers with the chicken mixture.
Pour the remaining tomato sauce on a baking pan big enough to accommodate the peppers. Place the peppers on the tomato sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with the basil leaves and serve.