The stuffing for these bell peppers was inspired by the Ecuadorean soup Chupa de Pescada, literally meaning Suck the Fish. My husband has worked with many Ecuadoreans and tasted many variations on this soup. The key ingredients in Chupa de Pescada are fish and lots of fresh lime and cilantro.
When you make the filling it should be distinctly tart. Resist the urge to add sugar or mellow this out in any way because when you eat the entire dish, the tart of the lime is perfectly balanced by the natural sweetness of the bell peppers. This recipe is best with red, orange or yellow bell peppers, which are sweeter than their green counterparts. Note that in the photo for this recipe the rice I used was wild rice and I also added some peas, which are not listed below. Thankfully, recipes are flexible.
Recipe for Fish-Stuffed Sweet Bell Peppers Serves 4.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish that will hold your 4 bell peppers upright fairly snugly.
4 large bell peppers
Do this by removing the tops, set aside tops. Now remove seed and inner ribbing as best you can while leaving pepper otherwise intact (see photo above). Set aside.
Add a small amount of oil to a large pan and saute:
1/2 lb. filleted white fish, any fish will do here, use whatever you prefer or what is on sale
As the fish cooks, break it up into pieces with your spatula. Next, add to the sauteing fish:
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
Once the vegetables have become aromatic, about several minutes, add:
3/4 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. cooked rice, whatever sort of rice you want to use will work
juice of 1/2 – 1 lime, depending on how much you like the taste of fresh lime
salt & pepper to taste
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
Remove from heat and mix in:
1/2 c. cilantro, roughly chopped
Pour this filling into your hollowed out bell peppers. Place pepper tops back onto the peppers. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes, or until peppers have reached your desired tenderness.