Stuffed tomatoes and September.

Fall doesn't officially start until the end of September, and yet with Labor Day over and kids in school and apples at the farmers market, I don't think people quite know what to do with themselves. Even I got a little excited and wore boots and a jean skirt today, because September just calls for it, I think. And can I tell you something that I never would have said last year or any year before that? I kind of like September.

good morning, bus stop.

There's just something about the way it sounds, I suppose. September. Nothing harsh about it, like the sharp quickness of June or August or March. It's just sweet and slow and puts off this warm glow, like a bonfire on a cool night or a pile of orange leaves.

A year ago, I would've refused to say such a thing. "September sucks," I would've said, and left it at that. Because it means summer is over, and winter is coming, and joy in Chicago as we know it is over. OK, so I can be a little extreme with the pessimism when it comes to the weather around here, but hey, I'm working on it. I just said I kind of like September, right? That's huge.

But of course, traces of summer remain: flip-flops at the doorway, the grill collecting dust on the porch, a swim suit in the laundry basket. Oh, and tomatoes.

Do you still have a ton of tomatoes? If you do, you should probably stuff them. No more simple tomato salads or no-cook pasta sauces -- give those tomatoes something warm and September. Black beans and chorizo should do just fine.

Think of it as pulling on a pair of comfy boots to go with the last of summer's bounty. September just calls for it.

stuffed tomatoes

Tomatoes Stuffed with Black Beans and Chorizo
I made this recipe up as I went along, using the standard recipe of stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice as a guide. So just know that this recipe is very, very loose. But whatever you do, be sure to break up the tomato pulp with your bare hands. Because it just feels good.

4-6 large or medium tomatoes (I used 7 smallish ones)
1 medium bell pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lime
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo sausage
Shredded Mexican cheese
Salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and carefully scoop out the insides. I used a small knife to cut a circle in the tomato, then a used a spoon to scoop the pulp. Reserve the pulp, juice, seeds and all in a large bowl, using your hands to break up the chunks. Set tomatoes in a baking dish.

Brown the chorizo in a large pan, crumbling the meat as it cooks. Meanwhile, mix the bell pepper, onion, black beans, lime juice, and jalapeno peppers with the reserved tomato pulp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add Tabasco sauce and more lime juice if needed. Pour mixture into pan with the cooked chorizo. Let cook for a few minutes, then remove from heat and add cheese.

Stuff the tomatoes carefully with the chorizo mixture and top with more cheese. Cover the tomatoes with aluminum foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, removing the foil during the last few minutes.

Serve with rice. Feeds two, with plenty of leftovers.


  1. Let me be the first to say to you, excellent post. The imagery is brilliant, as usual, and if this is the result of having to pretend like you're not here for a couple hours a night, then I understand completely.

    This entry is a fine example of how well you craft you posts with verbal precision, and visual delights, to accompany your voice as a writer. It's been a little over a year that you've been doing this and I think in the last couple months you've really come into your own. With every update to this site it feels more and more like you are hitting your stride, and you never fail to amaze me with your beautiful words and photography.

    With that being said, anybody that has cared to read this comment will take note that this recipe is a Jacqui original, thrown together by ingredients around the house and, like so many other dishes on this site, catered to our tastes.

    This Happy Jack of ours succeeds admirably at every thing she tries, whether it be cooking, writing, capturing my heart with every post, photographing, or just blogging in general. If I were to go on naming the rest of the things she succeeds at on a daily basis it would just be bragging for her, so I'll leave it at this...

    Kudos, congrats, and a job well done are in order, to honor everything you've done with this little piece of cyberspace, and your favorite hobby. Keep doing what you do, I know I'm not the only one that takes such gratification from seeing each and every post and update. I love you. <3

  2. I don't know how I can top Murdo's post but I was going to saw that this looks delish and congrats on just playing around in the kitchen

  3. We humans are not made for a plenty state of grace, that's why autumn and then winter have to come : )
    Think about the joy of autumn harvest and sweet winter flavors. You'll be charging batteries for being ready for the next summer.
    Lovely post and great recipe!
    I really envy you having real mexican ingredients (like chorizo!) when I have to dream up my own ingredients with the things I find around : P

  4. Jacqui, I was going to say, Hey! September is also the future month of something kind of big, right? And then I read Murdo's post and I think you two are adorable beyond words, what can I say in response, so I'm just going to tell you, like Murdo, I love reading here.

  5. A great idea to use chorizo with the corn and black bean stuffing. It's such a staple here in Texas, but I forget about it sometimes. Thanks! This looks fantastic.



  6. Cool post.

    I like to make stuffed peppers and I don't know if it would ever have occurred to me use tomatoes instead.

    Thanks for the idea.

  7. murdo - once again, you're making me blush, and a little teary-eyed, too. thank you for being there with me every step of the way, for being an even better eater than i could ever be, for having a passion in everything you say and do that just inspires and encourages every day. i love you, and of course you would write the sweetest comment i've ever read, because that's just what you do -- sweet stuff, all the time, and i'm lucky to have you.

    whitney - playing around in the kitchen is one of my favorite things to do -- especially on saturday and sunday mornings, when the apartment is still quiet and i have all the time in the world to slow down, take pictures, and just cook.

    190.arch - i've never thought of it that way! but it's true -- without fall and winter, i don't know that i'd appreciate the simple things of summer and spring quite so much. and there are things about autumn that i'm beginning to like, slowly but surely. it just takes a while for me to admit it, that's all. btw, you're in italy, right? no chorizo OR avocado? :(

    shanna - ohmygosh i didn't even think of that future big day in september...oops! but you're right, and it'll be a great day, and for the rest of my life september will just be special for one more (big) reason. thanks always for your kind words and inspiration!

    heather - i use chorizo a lot to get murdo to eat his veggies. :) i'm not the biggest chorizo fan, but for this dish, it adds such flavor that black beans alone get kind of bland.

    mr brown thumb - when i told people i stuffed tomatoes, they wondered if the tomatoes weren't too delicate to be stuffed. and they are very fragile, especially if super ripe, but you just have to be careful when hollowing out their shells. and if they fall apart a little -- oh well! it'll still taste good! :)

  8. Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Although I must admit, I'm on the other end - LOVE September, because it means fall is beginning. My favorite season, even if it means tomatoes are going away. I do love tomatoes. PS - September is awesome because it's only a month away from October, when I can trip down to Chicago and see you and Shanna! :)

  9. Lovely post :) And wow, lovely comment from Murdo too! Keep doing what you're doing!

    Loved stuffed tomatoes although I haven't had them in a while...and not with chorizo and beans. Which is a shame because it sounds fantastic! Will try soon :)

  10. chichajo - thank you! and yes, i think i'll keep him. :) definitely try stuffed tomatoes soon -- it's a great way to get rid of them! of course, as soon as my counter was cleared of tomatoes, i got a bunch more from a friend's garden. oh well, can't complain. i just made some tomato bisque.

  11. caitlin - i was re-reading these comments and noticed i totally forgot to respond to yours! but anyway, i am truly excited for our blogger date in october -- it's coming up!


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