Fresh green bell peppers become their own all-in-one serving vessel when stuffed with chicken, rice, mushrooms, and a creamy mushroom-infused sauce to create a weeknight dinner that puts the all the essential nutrients in one easy-to-make and totally delicious dinner.
You know how you have staples in your culinary repertoire? Those dishes that no matter how gourmet you try to fool your family and friends into thinking you are—and more often trying to convince yourself? The recipes that are the staple for Sunday night comfort food cravings and oh so easy to make on a weeknight, too?
This here recipe is one of them. Crave-a-licious.
I first shared this stuffed bell pepper recipe nearly 5-years-to-the-day-ago and after referring back to it so many times over the years, I felt it needed an update. Five years ago it was one of our go-to, favorite dinners then, and it absolutely still is today.
My mom used to make stuffed peppers with hamburger and tomato sauce, but as I kid I was so. not. into. peppers. Ew. But true to form, I began to like them the more I had them. I keep telling myself my little girl AliSmudge would be making the turn too. And she has. Oh yes, she’s a fan too.
My man and and I came up with this stuffed bell peppers recipe that will forever be in our top 5 favorite meals to make at home: Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Bell Peppers for the all-in-one-dinner-for-the-stuffed-bell-pepper-win.
How to Make Stuffed Bell Peppers with Mushrooms
Come fall, bell peppers are at their prime and that means with each visit to the farmers market, we’re coming home with a sack-full.
My number one tip when it comes to making stuffed bell peppers is to give the peppers a cooking head start before stuffing them. I do this by placing the trimmed and seeded peppers in a baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water and sprinkling their insides with a bit of kosher salt, and then microwaving them on high for 10 minutes or so. The peppers are softened and readied for the already-cooked stuffing, making the baking process more of a warm-up instead of a full-on baking experience. I prefer my peppers to be on the less-than-mushy side, so this technique works perfectly for a tender, but not over-cooked bell pepper.
We’ve made versions of these stuffed bell peppers with chicken, without chicken, with rice on the side, with rice added and baked in. Of course we had to add mushrooms. It’s always all about the mushrooms.
My husband and I have been making a variation of this meal for way longer than I’d care to reveal, ’cause you know, I was a child bride and all (*wink). Back in the day we used an onion soup mix as the main flavoring to spike a cream of mushroom soup concentrate to make the creamy filling. If anyone had tested our sodium levels post gorge we would have been straight-up mistaken for a salt lick thanks to the massive spike.
I set my man to task to create a lightened up, non-grocery store mix version. I’m stoked to say, he did it—and then some. It’s every bit as good, and I think way better thanks to the omission of the salty onion mix that we subbed with savory thyme leaves. Today, we make a simple roux with butter, flour and milk that’s reduced for a creamy filling with cooked rice and sautéed mushrooms. PLUS…
This version gets its mushroom-ey flavor from ground, dried porcini mushrooms combined with a load of sautéed cremini mushrooms added to onion and celery for a delicious trilogy of flavor. To grind the dried porcini mushrooms, we use a coffee grinder, or you could also use your food processor instead.
You can always use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for this recipe, but if you’re a wanna be meal-prepper like me, roast up a chicken of your own on the weekend (this is one of my faves), shred it and store in the fridge for dinners like this.
The creamy chicken and mushroom stuffing could literally be eaten as a soup all on its own. It’s so amazingly delicious.
What Do You Serve With Stuffed Bell Peppers?
Because stuffed bell peppers are literally a meal in one, the big question becomes what goes with them? Here’s a few ideas to take your one-stage meal to upstage all the others:
A crunchy salad like this one.
These baked carrots. The sweetness totally compliments the savory bites of peppers.
Bread. Garlic toast always makes the meal. Simply spread a loaf of french bread or rolls with softened butter, sprinkle with garlic salt, a bit of dried or fresh minced parsley and parmesan cheese. Toast until golden and serve.
A simple cocktail, wine, or beer always pleases.
Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Peppers
- 5 green bell peppers seeded and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 pounds cremini mushrooms sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups cold milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme crushed
- 5 teaspoons dried mushrooms such as oyster or porcini ground into a powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked chicken shredded
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 1 ¼ cups shredded cheese such as Monterey jack or cheddar
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and ribs. Lay the peppers cut side up in a 9 X 13 inch pan with 1/4 cup water in the bottom. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and microwave the peppers for 8-10 minutes until softened. Drain the water from the pan and set aside.
In a large skillet or dutch oven, sauté onions and celery with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms soften then transfer to a bowl.
In the same dutch oven or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, scraping bits from bottom of pan if there are any. Whisk in the flour and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so flour taste cooks out and the mixture becomes lightly browned. Add the chicken stock and the milk to the butter and flour mixture, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add the thyme, crushing it between your fingers, the ground mushroom powder and season to with the salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to medium heat and cook until the sauce thickens and reduces by one third. Add the mushroom mixture back to the pan with the chicken and rice and cook until warmed. Add more milk if the sauce is too thick.
Lightly salt (about 1/4 teaspoon) the inside of the stemmed and seeded peppers and place in a microwave safe bowl with ½ cup or so of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Place peppers in a 9 X 12 baking dish, skin side down, and fill pepper cavities with chicken mixture and top each pepper with a small handful of shredded cheese. Add extra filling around the peppers. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and the cheese is melted. Rest for 5 minutes and serve.
More Stuffed Pepper Recipes
- Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Beef
- Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Spiralized Zucchini, Quinoa and Turkey Sausage Stuffed Peppers
- Baked Eggs in Stuffed Peppers
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