Dad’s Stuffed Bell Peppers
A classic American dish that one can’t easily find in restaurants (unless it is a cafeteria) is stuffed bell peppers. It’s essentially meatloaf stuffed into bell peppers and baked in the oven. My mom and dad have their own different versions, both delicious. Here is my dad’s:
- 4 bell peppers, any color
- 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 lb of lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 cup of cooked white rice (from about 3/4 cup raw rice)
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned (if using can, drain of excess liquid first)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
- Dash of Tabasco sauce
1 Cook the rice: If you are starting with raw rice, you'll need to cook it first. Cook the rice following the directions on the rice package.
2 Steam the bell peppers: Cut the tops off of the bell peppers about 1 inch from the stem end and remove the seeds.
Place a steaming rack in a large pot and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by an inch. Place the bell peppers on the rack, cut side up, and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and let the peppers steam for 5 to 10 minutes until they start to soften.
Note that you can skip the steaming if you want, but this step will help ensure that the peppers cook through thoroughly when they are stuffed and baked.
3 Sauté onions and garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
4 Make filling: Transfer meat, cooked rice, cooked onions, tomatoes, and oregano to a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Mix everything together with your hands or a wooden spoon, just enough so that the ingredients are all well distributed. Do not over-mix.
5 Stuff the peppers: Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside the peppers. Arrange the cut side of the peppers up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling.
Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling.
6 Bake: Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in 350°F oven and bake for 40-50 minutes (or longer, depending on how big the peppers are that you are stuffing), until the internal temperature of the stuffed peppers is 150-160°F.