Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chili-Stuffed Peppers with Avocado Cream Cheese

Bell peppers make handy bowls for all kinds of stuffing—vegetables, meat, rice, cheese, and any combination of the above. A simple, quick chili is one flavorful filling that’s as easy as it is satisfying.

I made this chili with ground chicken instead of beef simply for a little leaner touch. If you prefer ground beef, go for it. Instead of a tomato sauce or cheese topping, a bit of creamy avocado and smoky bacon make a tasty alternative.

Serves 4


For the Stuffed Peppers
  • 2 large bell peppers (any color), halved through the stem ends, seeds removed, (keep the halved stems intact, if desired)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • olive oil for oiling dish, plus 1 tbsp
  • 3/4 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 habanero (or serrano) chile, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-oz can chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • warm flour tortillas and lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Chili Vegetables and Garlic 
Peppers Ready to Boil
For the Avocado Cream Cheese
  • 1 large ripe avocado (or 2 small)
  • 3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • sea salt


For the Stuffed Peppers
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly oil an 8 X 8-inch baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the bell pepper halves. Boil 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove and cool while the filling cooks.
Peppers Beginning to Boil
Boiled Peppers
  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until barely crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble. 
  2. Pour out the bacon fat and reheat the pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the ground chicken, onion, habanero, and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook, breaking up the chicken, until the vegetables soften and the chicken is just cooked through, 8-9 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chile powder, and cumin and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
  5. Place the pepper halves cut-side up in the prepared baking dish. Divide the chili and spoon into each pepper shell. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes. 
Chicken Mixture Beginning to Cook
Cooked Chicken Mixture
Chili Beginning to Cook
Cooked Chili 
Ready to Bake
To serve, place 1 baked, chili-stuffed pepper on each of 4 plates and dollop with avocado cream cheese (recipe follows). Divide the crumbled bacon on top and serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges, if desired.

Chili-Stuffed Peppers with Avocado Cream Cheese
For the Avocado Cream Cheese
  1. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh into a food processor.
  2. Add the cream cheese, lime juice, and salt and puree until smooth and creamy. Scrape into a bowl.
Avocado Cream Cheese

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