BAKED TUNA-STUFFED BELL PAPPERSBAKED STUFFED BELL PEPPERS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A staple of the Southern diet, the perfect medium for all sorts of ground meats, chopped leftover poultry and seafood, and, for health fanatics, diced fresh vegetables and mushrooms. Much as I love canned albacore tuna in salads or by itself, just about the only way I’ll prepare it hot is when it’s mixed with other ingredients, stuffed into green, red, or yellow bell peppers, and baked with a golden cheese topping.
Actually, any cooked, flaked, leftover oily fish, such as mackerel, bluefish, or fresh
tuna, makes a wonderful stuffing for these peppers (or large poblano chile peppers), but if you’re curious about what Southerners might point to on a diner menu or whip up for close friends on a cold night, do try the canned tuna (solid white only).
4 large green bell peppers, 1 cup raw long-grain rice, cooked according to package directions One 6-ounce can solid white tuna packed in oil, drained 1 small onion, finely chopped One 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels, thawed 1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Paprika to taste, 1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped 1⁄2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 3 cups hot water
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut a wide circle around the stems of the peppers, lift off the lids, and discard. Scoop out and discard the seeds and membranes, trim the bottoms of the peppers so they will stand upright, and arrange in a 2-quart baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, tuna, onion, corn, and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and paprika, and mix till well blended. Stuff equal amounts of the mixture into the peppers, spoon equal amounts of the chopped tomato over the mixture, and sprinkle equal amounts of cheese over the tops. Pour the hot water around the peppers and bake till the tops are golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Carefully lift the peppers out of the dish with a slotted spoon, place on a large plate, and serve piping hot.