Stuffed peppers are a perfect winter supper. A meal in themselves. Just add a salad and some good crusty bread and serve. If you look up recipes for stuffed peppers there are all sorts of ethnic variations. A Spanish stuffed pepper with Manchego cheese, cod and a béchamel sauce. An Indian stuffed pepper with meat, potato, onion, turmeric and coriander. A Mexican pepper stuffed with cheese, covered in an egg batter and deep fried. A Finnish stuffed pepper with rice and lamb, finished with some heavy cream. The pepper itself is the vehicle and almost any combination of protein, carb, and seasoning can be stuffed inside. Today I made my peppers with lots of tomato, rice and ground pork.
5-6 red, yellow or orange peppers
1 pound ground pork (or pork sausage)
2 pints of tomatoes
1 cup beef or chicken broth
2 cups rice (cooked)
1 cup red onion diced
1 cup celery diced
tops of peppers diced
2 T olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 lemon juiced
1 T oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Preheat your oven to 375.
Cut the tops off of the peppers and reserve to use in the filling. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the peppers for 5-6 minutes until tender. Drain on a clean kitchen towel and set aside.
Dice the pepper caps, onion, and celery. Heat 2 T of olive oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the vegetables over medium heat until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Set aside 1/2 of the vegetable mixture to use for the sauce. Add the ground meat to the skillet and cook until the meat is no longer pink. After the meat has cooked I put it in a strainer to drain off the fat and then return it to the skillet.
Add one pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of broth, and oregano and cayenne to the meat mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the meat mixture to a large bowl. (Or if you are into less dishes use the kettle you parboiled the peppers in.) Add the 2 cups of rice, 1 cup of cheese, and parsley and stir to combine. If you feel the mixture needs more moisture add a little more broth. Set aside while you make the gravy.
In the skillet combine the reserved vegetables, one pint of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of broth, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickens. Tranfer the sauce to a food processor or blender and purée.
Now it’s time to assemble the peppers. Fill each pepper with the meat and rice mixture and stand up in a casserole dish. Once you’ve filled the peppers pour the gravy over the top and bake for 45 minutes.
Serve with extra grated cheese and some good bread. Enjoy!
NOTE: Cooking is limited only by one’s imagination. This recipe is a perfect example of an opportunity to substitute ingredients based on your family’s personal tastes. Beef, lamb, turkey or pork. Rice, quinoa, potato or orzo. Parsley, basil, cilantro or mint.
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