Non-Recipe Recipe

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Before Christmas, bell peppers were on special in the produce department so I bought several. We love Nigella’s One Pan Chicken and this hit the spot for us one evening when holiday prep and leftovers could be shoved to the back-burner.

Meanwhile, the holidays happened and I sort of forgot I still had two peppers in the produce bin. Luckily, I did come across them before they started “going south” and decided that Stuffed Peppers would make a nice supper.

I have an old recipe from my mom which is crazy intense. I mean, you par-boil the peppers and skin them. Why I ever did that or thought it was necessary, I will never know. But, since I’d done that recipe lots of times over the years, I knew the good parts and have some confidence on how to proceed sans the idiotic pepper skinning.

Look how happy and pretty they look waiting for their filling.

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So there are two major things to do for this supper. Make a filling and make a sauce.

FILLING – It’s basically porcupine meatballs. Usually I use ground beef, but this week I had some ground pork and it was spectacular. You can go vegetarian if you have enough veggies like mushrooms or squash around as well. These 2 bell peppers make four halves (four servings) all with a half pound of meat. I added about a half cup finely diced onions and a cup of cooked rice plus spices. You can par-boil some rice or better yet use up some leftovers from the fridge. Or you can use quinoa or couscous in place of the rice. What you have on hand will work. I like mine to have a sort of Italian lean, so I doused in some fennel seeds and cayenne. Spice according to your taste. An egg is helpful to keep it bound together, but a stray egg white or egg yolk is better for this size recipe than the whole egg, (Hannah is happy to relieve me of my spare egg parts). Don’t forget very liberal addition of salt and black pepper. Spare sprigs of parsley help this out too. Mix it till it looks like it’ll hold its own and stuff each pepper tightly and generously.

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SAUCE – It’s basically tomato sauce. My mom’s addition was sour cream and I must say for me that it is the winning part of the dish. I simply use a 28 ounce can of tomatoes; puree if not already and dump into the pan and over the peppers. After you have baked it all covered for an hour, ladle out as much as you can and whisk in about a cup of sour cream or plain yogurt. Then pour back over it all and bake uncovered for 20-30 more minutes.

SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut 2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers in half vertically and remove seeds. Place skin down in a baking dish (one with a cover is best, but foil will work if you don’t have a lid)
  2. Mix together your filling of:
    • 1/2 lb. ground Beef or Pork or Turkey
    • 1/2 Cup minced onion
    • 1 Cup Rice or Quinoa or Couscous
    • 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs (you can do half crumbs and half grated Parmesan)
    • 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
    • 1/2 tsp. Salt & Black Pepper
    • Cayenne or Chili Flakes to taste
  3. Puree 28 oz. can of Tomatoes and pour over peppers to go halfway up sides
  4. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour
  5. Remove from oven and pour out as much of the sauce as you can without dumping the peppers. Whisk into 1 Cup of Sour Cream.
  6. Return to oven uncovered for 20 minutes

 

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