Former royal chef Darren McGrady said he made stuffed peppers for Princess Diana when she was living at Kensington Palace.
In an interview with HuffPost’s Rebecca Adams in 2014, former royal chef Darren McGrady explained that after overcoming bulimia, Princess Diana focused on living a healthy lifestyle. McGrady told the outlet that Princess Diana began transitioning to a fat-free diet while living at Kensington Palace.
“I want you to take care of all the fat. I’ll take care of the carbs at the gym,” Princess Diana said.
After enjoying Princess Diana’s favorite dessert – McGrady’s Bread Butter Pudding – I decided to give the Stuffed Peppers recipe a try! While the recipe for the filling requires quite a bit of prep work, the actual cooking process took almost no time and was easy to make as a home cook. The recipe is available in McGrady’s book Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from the Palace Kitchen.
To craft you will need:
- 4 medium red peppers
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1 cup finely sliced mushrooms
- 1 zucchini, diced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 cup rice, cooked al dente and cooled
- ½ cup of water
- ½ chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 4 slices of smoked bacon, fried until crispy and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare the peppers.
First, cut off the tops of each pepper before cleaning the seeds and membranes inside. McGrady wrote in his cookbook that if the peppers aren’t rising properly, snip off small pieces from the bottom until they do.
Next, place the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, making sure they are well coated. Don’t be afraid to get olive oil in the peppers, as you’ll need to use the same oil in a skillet later.
Bake the peppers in the oven for about 25 minutes (or until they start to soften), then remove them from the oven to cool.
Start by preparing the veggies, rice, bacon, and shredded cheese for the stuffed pepper filling.
Since this will take up the majority of your time, I suggest starting this process before you bake the peppers or while they’re in the oven.
Oven roast four slices of smoked bacon, shred one tablespoon of basil, cook one cup of rice, dice four ounces of mozzarella cheese, and dice one cup of zucchini.
The recipe says to cut the bacon into smaller pieces after frying. It also meant cooking the rice al dente and letting it cool by setting it aside. The term “al dente” in this recipe refers to cooking the rice so it’s al dente and not too soft in texture.
Pour the oil from the peppers into a pan.
As previously mentioned, McGrady’s recipe called for using the olive oil from the peppers to sauté the veggies.
Now it’s time to put it all in the pan!
I felt like I was making a simple stew instead of a royal recipe, but I think that’s part of its charm. At this point, add the onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and oregano to the skillet and sauté over high heat until the vegetables are soft. Use salt and pepper for seasoning, but feel free to add more or less to taste.
Then add the tomatoes, the rice, the water, the bouillon cube – I went with the chicken flavor – and let the mixture simmer for five minutes.
It was around this point that a delicious smell began wafting through my kitchen, and there are very few smells I love more than sautéed onions.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and mix with the rice.
McGrady said to take the final ingredients — bacon, basil, and mozzarella — and fold them into the rice mixture.
I want to compliment the chef on this delicious meal!
Though I’ve lifted these stuffed peppers heavy, McGrady’s recipe does a wonderful job of staying reasonably healthy while mixing tons of flavors.
The rice with the added chicken broth might have been one of my favorite combinations, but next time I’ll use granulated chicken broth instead of diced so it spreads more evenly.
Another highlight of the dish was the melted mozzarella cheese, which gave the recipe a light but gooey aspect that I really enjoyed.
I would recommend this recipe to anyone who loves a good stuffed pepper recipe or busy people who want to make an easy meal after a long day at work.