Stuffed Bell Peppers
Here’s one of the family’s favorite comfort foods. But it’s important to make them correctly, or they may wind up a tasteless pasty or greasy mess. Like meatloaf, there are many more bad recipes out there than good ones. This one is great, and even if you don’t think you like stuffed peppers, this will change your mind!
Bell peppers come in green, yellow, red, and orange, and the most popular (and cheapest) of these is green. However, you can use any of them for this recipe. If you want to match your kitchen curtains, that’s your business.
Whichever color you choose, be sure and pick peppers that are squat and blocky rather than tall and slim. You know, fullbacks, not wide receivers. Allow one per person.
Prepare the peppers: Cut the top off of the peppers, and clean out the seeds and pithy ridges the seeds grow from. If the pepper doesn’t sit up straight, yell at it. If that doesn’t work, slice some slivers off the bottom bumps to level it off.
For the rice, either use leftover rice, or cook some, or make some Uncle Ben’s Instant Wild Rice, which is my favorite. For example, I use his rice to go with seafood one night, and save some leftover rice for these peppers. Anyway, get some rice on hand for this recipe.
4 medium bell peppers
1/2 cup uncooked rice or about 2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped in small pieces
1 pound ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, preferably Ro-Tel with lime and cilantro (drain and save the juice)
1 1/2 cups of shredded yellow and white cheese (sometimes called Mexican blend)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 cup catsup
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Put four quarts of water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. After preparing the peppers as described above, put the peppers in the boiling water for three minutes. Then take them out, drain them, and put them upright on a plate to cool off. While they are cooling off, you can cook the rice in the same water, if you are starting the rice from scratch.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the chopped onion. Stir and cook for a few minutes until some of it gets brown edges. Add the garlic and the ground beef, and continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink. Take it off the heat and push the meat and onion mixture off to one side of the pan so it can drain off some of the liquid.
Now in a mixing bowl, combine the drained meat, the cooked rice, the drained tomatoes, one cup of the cheese, and the parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
Put the peppers in a baking dish, and fill with the mixture. Mix the catsup and tomato liquid together and pour over the stuffed peppers. Sprinkle with the rest of the shredded cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, and serve with bread and a simple salad.