Bell Peppers 101


For whole stuffed peppers, microwave cored pepper shells for two minutes to soften them and ensure that shells will be done at the same time as the filling. Then fill the peppers and cook until the filling is heated through about 7 – 8 minutes.


Strips or squares of pepper (a mix of colors makes an attractive side dish) can be sautéed in oil or broth for 10 – 15 minutes. Cook alone or in combination with other vegetables.


You can broil or grill pepper pieces (or you can fire-roast whole peppers over an open flame; see below). To prepare peppers for broiling, slice the pepper lengthwise into four or five flattish panels (this will depend on the shape of the peppers; sometimes they are four-sided, but sometimes their shape is a little less defined). Discard stem, ribs, and seeds. Lay the pieces on the grill skin-side down, or on a broiler pan skin-side up, and cook about 4" from the heat until the skin is blackened. Place the charred peppers in a bowl, cover with a pot lid or a plate, and let them "sweat" for about 15 minutes; this will loosen the skin. Then scrape off the skin with a table knife (doing this under running water is helpful). Cooking time: 6 - 10 minutes.


Cut bell peppers into large chunks and place them in a baking dish (alone or with other vegetables). Bake in a 350°F oven for about 20 – 25 minutes or until tender. For baking with a stuffing, choose solid, thick-walled peppers so that they will hold their shape. Cut off a “lid” (about 1/2” deep) and a thin slice from the bottom of each pepper so that each one will stand without tipping; or, halve each pepper lengthwise to form two "cups." Stuff the peppers and place them in a baking pan in which they will fit snugly. Bake in a 375°F oven until the filling is heated through and the peppers tender.


To freeze whole peppers, wash, remove seeds and stem, cut in half and blanch for 3 minutes. Immerse in ice water immediately after blanching. For diced or strips of pepper, blanching is not required.
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