Stuffed bell peppers is one of those classic comfort food dishes that my family practically lived on when I was a kid.
This recipe my mother adapted from Adele Davis as mom was teaching herself to cook in the 1960s.
Like so many of those early recipes, mom has modified them to her taste and style through the years. This one she rarely does exactly the same way twice, she'll use a different set of herbs and seasoning depending on what strikes her fancy looking through the spice cabinet.
Whereas my father is a stickler for details and exact ingredients measurements, mom usually can't be bothered; she keeps things simple, and improvises as she goes along.
While dad's stuffed bell pepper recipe is terrific, it's a little too much fuss and bother for her to make. This one is easier and more her style.
Mom's Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked white rice (starting from about 3/4 to 1 cup raw white rice)
- 4 to 6 bell peppers (red, yellow, or green), use 4 large, or 6 medium sized
- 1 to 1 1/4 pound of ground beef (ground chuck, 16% fat)
- 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry summer savory or thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram (or 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped)
- (Can substitute herbs with other herbs such as an Italian herb mix)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook the rice:
If you haven't already made the rice, start cooking the rice following the package instructions (usually 1 cup of raw white rice plus 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.)
Steam the bell peppers:
Cut the tops off of the bell peppers. Remove and discard (compost) the stem and seeds.
Place bell peppers cut side up on a steaming rack over an inch of water in a large covered pot. Bring to boil, let steam for 10 minutes. (Note you can skip this step if you want, but steaming the pepper shells first will make them more tender and easier to eat.)
Mix the filling:
Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, basil, summer savory, marjoram, salt, several turns of black pepper, and the cooked rice.
Fill the bell peppers:
Remove bell peppers from steamer pan. Place cut side up in a pyrex or other oven-proof casserole. Gently stuff the peppers with the ground beef rice mixture.
Drizzle olive oil over the stuffed peppers, along the outside of the peppers, and into the pan. Rub the oil over the outside of the peppers; it will help with browning. Sprinkle the tops generously with paprika.
Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 350°F for 35-50 minutes, or longer, until the meat is cooked through.
Serve with ketchup.