BELL PEPPERS STUFFED WITH CHORIZO, MANCHEGO CHEESE AND SMOKED PAPRIKA (for four)
4 medium red bell peppers (about 6 ounces each), ½ inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded
¼ teaspoon saffron, crumbled
½ cup long grain white basmati rice
1-½ tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
12 ounces chorizo, cut into ¼ inch dice
6 ounces smoked ham, preferably serrano, cut into ¼ inch dice
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
one 14-½ ounce can diced plum tomatoes, drained
5 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 teaspoon pimienton, or to taste (Spanish smoked paprika)
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional — depends on the spiciness of the chorizo)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers are just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water and place peppers cut sides down on paper towels to drain. Return water to a boil and add saffron, stirring until it dissolves. Add rice and boil until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain rice and transfer it to a large bowl. Set aside.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350*.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add chorizo and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add ham and cook 1 minute more. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon and leaving as much fat as possible in the skillet, transfer the chorizo mixture to bowl with rice. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, pimienton, red pepper flakes, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place peppers cut sides up in a 9 inch square baking dish. Using a soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tablespoons chopped almonds over each filled pepper. Bake until filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.