How precooked should the rice be for peppers stuffed with rice and beef before putting into the oven?
Almost all the way? 50%??
Edited by abefroman - 3/18/13 at 9:57am
Not in my opinion. And, I'm willing to bet that if you google "stuffed peppers" nine out of the first ten recipe hits which include rice will call for fully cooked rice. Most people aren't looking for al dente rice under any circumstances, much less as part of a farce.
Stuffed peppers are often made as an inexpensive way to use leftover rice. So, that's another thing. Also, the meat is often cooked or at least browned ahead of time. And that not only reduces the cooking time but the amount of moisture as well.
My stuffed peppers, are usually made with the same 50/50 mix of brown and wild rice I use to make rice salad. Both types of grain require far more cooking time than they'd get if they went to the pepper par cooked. Sometimes I use couscous instead of rice. Even though "raw" couscous hydrates very easily, I still don't have any problems from preparing it before it goes into the raw filling.
People have different ways of doing things and I'm not trying to say that my way is the only good way, the best way or anything similar. Other people do it other ways, and I'm sure their stuffed peppers are delicious.
I actually make stuffed peppers and tomatoes regularly so no need to google. There are two methods one is to par cook the rice and put them into the pepper or tomato and let the rice finish in the cooking process. The other is to par cook the peppers and cook the rice till tender then stuff the shells. I tend to roast my peppers and tomatoes slow and long so if I cook the rice all the way it becomes a gooey mess. Par cook has always worked best for me.
My rice goes in raw. There are several reasons for this. First, the vegetables themselves have plenty of moisture in them to infuse into the rice grains. Secondly, I always grate lots of zucchini and onion straight into the rice stuffing, and that lends a lot of moisture too. The meat (half beef/ half pork) gets browned and cooled before I mix it into the rice. Lastly, the stuffing goes into raw tomatoes/peppers and is covered tightly with foil before going into a very hot oven to cook for an hour. It almost braises in there and then I uncover it and let it get golden brown on top.
This one was a totally vegan version. I tend to accidentally overstuff my vegetables. I use long grain white rice, it gets a little crispy on the top and moist inside. I also insert dolmades whenever I have grapeleaves handy and I season lots of potato wedges separately and tuck them in anywhere. My mother add water to the pan but I never do, as long as you cook it covered it doesn't dry out.
Thanks y'all. You can also add stuffed onions, potatoes, eggplants, zucchini, zucchini blossoms, any vegetable you can stuff makes a great addition. The secret to my mix is:
- grated onion
- grated zucchini
- fresh mint (lots)
- black pepper/salt
- lots of olive oil
KouKou we are of the same mindset. Although I don't put the rice in raw I also don't grate in raw vegetables. Since I mainly cook stuffed tomatoes they release so much water during the cooking that cooking the rice all the way never yields great results. Awesome photo!