Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Things just got a little out of hand in my kitchen. I'm not upset about it. I don't think you will be either.

I took Philly Cheesesteak. And I stuffed a pepper with it. Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers.

Oh my god.

OK, so here's the back story.

A couple of weekends ago, I went out to Philadelphia to visit my friend Lauren. We went to college together and continue to keep in touch despite the fact that our work took us to two different cities 6 hours away.

After much discussion about a Philadelphia trip, we finally manned up and made it happen. It's SO easy to procrastinate planning and use the excuse of "I'm too dang busy." Well, my challenge for you is to stop SAYING you're going to go on this vacation, go visit this old friend, or travel to some cool landmark and JUST DO IT. You'll be so much happier after you do.

Now, despite the fact that it was 1 million degrees and rising this weekend, we had an awesome weekend. I requested that we do some super touristy things because I had never been to Philly. We went to the Rocky steps at the art museum, visited the Liberty Bell, took way too many pictures outside old City Hall, and we even went to a Phillies game!

But there was one request I DEMANDED be met.

I had to have one authentic, delicious, gut-busting Philly Cheesesteak.

Lauren oblidged handsomely to this request. I have come to consider her the "Tour Guide of the Year."

We went to her personal favorite cheese steak location, and I can totally see why it tops the list. The name of the spot is Dalessandro's. It was a cute little hole in the wall that held the secret to all my Philly Cheesesteak needs.They have a bunch of different hoagies, but I knew I had to go with a traditional Cheesesteak. Shaved steak, American cheese (this apparently is not necessarily the norm for every cheesesteak...provolone is more common), grilled peppers, grilled onions, and mushrooms on a hoagie roll. It's perfection in a sandwich.

The Sandwich that changed my life...

So the trip to Philly was awesome, and I came home wishing I had regular access to a Dalessandro Cheesesteak. A week ago, it hit me as I was enjoying a stuffed pepper that this was it. This would be the vessel that would satisfy this cheesey, gooey, warm, delicious craving.

Here's what you need for Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers:

4 medium-large peppers (I did a combination of red and green because reds tend to be bigger but greens tend to have a better shape for stuffing. They're more round rather than tall).
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms (I used baby bellas), diced
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 pound ground meat (I used turkey and it was actually really nice. Beef, of course, is a logical choice as well)
3 slices of white American cheese, cut into small cubes
1/8 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder
Salt and cracked pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 Here's what you do:

Slice the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds and guts. Reserve the small portions of the top and dice up for the filling.

Boil in a large pot for 5 minutes. Don't forget about them or they will get too soft and fall apart when you start to stuff them. Remove and drain, upside down, until slightly cool.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the veggies become tender and the onions are translucent.
Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with a little more salt. Stir to combine well. Cook for 5 to 7 more minutes. When the mushrooms become irresistibly aromatic and nutty, set aside the veggies in a bowl.

Add the ground turkey to the pan. Crumble and season with the onion powder and garlic powder. Cook until browned.
Stir in the rice and the cooked vegetables. Reduce heat to low.
Let's talk about the cheese. I mentioned how American cheese is not the norm. I have to say,'s an amazing choice. It melts so well and incorporates perfectly into the whole filling mixture.

So, add the cheese gradually to the filling. Stir slowly until everything is covered in gooey cheese.
Preheat your over to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the peppers in a row. Sprinkle the insides with a little more salt and pepper.
Generously stuff each pepper with 1/4 of the cheesey mixture.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes--this will make the insides even more melty and delicious. Totally reminiscent of the original cheesesteak of my dreams.

It took a lot of will power for me to not just take a spoon to the filling before baking it into the peppers. But, trust me, the end result is well worth the wait. The tops get a little crispy while the insides...well, I think you know by now what the filling is like. The peppers are tender and steamy.

This meal is spot on.

What do you stuff peppers with? Have you ever had a Philly Cheesesteak straight from Philadelphia?!

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