As the days keep getting shorter and the temperature keeps dropping, I keep gravitating towards warm, comfort foods for dinner. One that I’ve been craving for a while is stuffed peppers. I didn’t really have a recipe for traditional stuffed peppers, with meat and rice, so I went looking. I have to tell you, there are a ton of stuffed pepper recipes out there, but not a whole lot that are like the classics. After reading tons of reviews and a bunch of recipes, I came up with this recipe. It’s the classic combination of rice, ground meat, and tomato sauce stuffed in a pepper, and they are delicious!
Start with your peppers. Cut off the tops, but just the tops. I found if you cut just where the sides start to curve, you can then just pop out the stem to discard. Then you can chop the top pepper pieces to add to the stuffing. Cut the tops off and clean 6 peppers. Add them to a pot of boiling salted water, and boil for just 5 minutes, to start the cooking. Don’t worry, they won’t look very cooked (and they shouldn’t), but this helps them to soften in the oven. When you take them out of the water, put them in a bowl with cold water and ice to cool. Set aside.For the stuffing, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan. When hot, add the chopped tops of the pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Next, add 1 medium onion, chopped, and 3 cloves garlic, minced (or just use that garlic press). Cook these for about 10 minutes until the onions start to brown and soften, and they start turning brown. Pour the vegetables into a bowl, and return the pan to the stove.
Next for the saute pan, add 1 lb ground beef and 1/4 lb sausage meat (without the casing). Stir to break apart the meat, and cook until the mixture is no longer pink, then add to the vegetables. Add 1 cup cooked rice to the mixture, and 1 cup marinara sauce, 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ground peppers, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Allow the mixture to cool a bit, then add 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese and 1 egg. Stir everything to combine.
Another tip here, if you’re tasting for salt and pepper (and you really should), be sure to taste before you add the egg. Once you feel the seasoning is right, then add the egg. This way you get the seasoning right without having to worry about eating raw eggs.
Next, take a 13×9 casserole dish and start stuffing your peppers. You want to stuff them pretty full, and line them up in the pan. You should have more stuffing than you need, but just scatter it around the peppers in the pan. Finally, top the peppers with another 1 cup marinara sauce, cover with foil, and cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until hot throughout.