I love my mom’s stuffed bell peppers. I always thought they took a ton of work, but they are really quite easy. Who knew? All these years I’ve avoided making them. Well, that and my mom sends me home with a pot full every so often, so I had no need to make my own.
Growing up–and even into our adulthood–my siblings and I would devour the innards of the stuffed peppers but pile the green skins onto my mom’s plate; green peppers just taste too bitter, and none of us can stomach it.
Lately, she has made the stuffed peppers with the yellow, orange, and red peppers, which I have actually learned to eat raw but still didn’t want to eat them all cooked and mushy. I find them very sweet and refreshing in raw form, though. My husband, while we were dating, tricked me one time into eating orange peppers. I thought they were carrots in the salad he had made. Boy was I surprised to find that I actually liked peppers!
So, my odyssey with making stuffed peppers was born out of a need to use up the excess peppers we had bought for a bargain price at the farmer’s market (4 for $1!!). A bit of internet sleuthing led me to a recipe that sounded similar to my mom’s, and now I am tickled pink to add these babies to my repertoire. They are especially tasty because the skins are blanched and retain some of their crunch after cooking. I think the difference with this recipe and my mom’s is that she drowns hers in sauce and that makes the skins ultra tender during the baking in the oven.
For my sauce, I used a homemade roasted garlic and red pepper tomato sauce (the recipe is on the blog Full Measure of Happiness). Scrumptious!! I bet store-bought sauce would work just fine, but this homemade sauce is to-die-for delicious and takes these stuffed peppers over the top.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 6 peppers (any color–greens have a bitter bite while the red, orange, and yellows have a sweet flavor)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce (I recommend adding more if you like to pour lots of sauce over the pepper when serving it)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef or chuck (I used venison)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice (quinoa works, too)
- Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Dice edible parts of tops and set aside. Rinse peppers under cold water. Place peppers in pot; cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Saute diced peppers (from tops), chopped onion, and chopped celery for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine egg with remaining 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend. Add uncooked ground beef, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato mixture. Mix well.
- Stuff peppers with meat mixture and place in a 3-quart baking dish or a Dutch oven.
- Pour remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-65 minutes.
Ideas from reader reviews from the recipe’s source:
- add 3 tbsp. ketchup to add sweetness to meat mixture
- sauce: 8 oz. jar tomato sauce + 16 oz. sour cream
- add some corn for crunch
- try substituting some sausage for the ground beef
- double recipe and freeze leftovers; microwave/defrost for a quick meal