Stuffed Peppers

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This is another dish Fran and I had a lot when we were growing up. I haven’t changed it much. No point.  Plus, this isn’t a bad companion piece to Fran’s Stuffed Cabbage recipe.

 

 

 

Ingredients

5 or 6 bell peppers (I like to use yellow or orange because green ones can be a little bitter but the orange and yellow can be expensive)

2 to 2½ lb ground chuck

1 to 1½ cups cooked rice (cooked approximately ½ the time called for on the package – this avoids “mush”)

½ to 1 cup minced bacon (optional)

4 qt ± tomato juice (enough to cover the peppers in the pot – I used a 6.5 qt pot)

celery salt (or plain salt) and pepper to season

For the meatballs

1 egg beaten
¼ cup bread crumbs

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I like to “dry fit” the peppers in the pot so I know what I’m working with. I was told that there were 2 peppers in the garden I could use so I only bought 4 more. Turns out, one had been bored into by an unknown “critter”. That one got pitched. That left 4 good sized peppers and a “runt”. This impacted the fit in the pot but, oh well… Five or, generally 6 peppers fit snugly and upright.

 

cored pepper

 

 

 

 

Cut the stems out of the peppers, remove seeds and as much of the ribs as possible without poking holes in the peppers. A spoon helps a lot in this process.

 

 

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Mix the cooked rice with the ground chuck (and bacon if you’re using it) and season to taste. If you’re not sure about the seasoning, take a little tablespoon full and saute it in a pan.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.

 

 

 

peppers in pot

 

 

Lightly pack the peppers with the meat/rice mixture.  If you pack it too tight you will end up with tough stuffed peppers.  Add enough tomato juice and/or Bloody Mary mix to almost cover the peppers.  Cover and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 2½ to 3 hours.  Depending on the size and depth of your pot, you might want to put it on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.  It has been known to happen.

 

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To serve, use a slotted spoon to remove the peppers from the pot.  Cut in half and add a little pat of butter and a dollop of sour cream.  This is Eastern European peasant fare and that’s the way it was always served in my house and is to this day.

 

 

left over pepper meatballs

 

 

 

Have some meat/rice mixture left over?  I almost always do.  Add a beaten egg and about ¼ cup of bread crumbs (to bind everything together) and form meatballs.  Brown in a little oil for about 10 minutes (stirring or shaking often to brown on all sides) and you either have some yummy appetizers or gourmet meatballs for your pasta.

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