Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Summer (although crazy hot where I live) is one of my favorite times to cook. Due mainly to the abundant veggies and fruits. I have to say I love everything that comes from the vegetable garden, but one of my very favorite goodies is pepper, all kinds of pepper. The color's alone are tempting enough, but the profile of taste and heat is so delicious.

My stuffed peppers are an old time favorite and one that I have to cook at least once during the summer season. I used red, yellow and green peppers for this recipe and garnished with tiny leaves of basil before baking, as you can see.

Mama loves my stuffed peppers...I got The Horn Player to try them and (vegetable hater that he is) he actually said he liked them and would eat them again. Woohoo...that's what I call success.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

3 large bell pepper (cored and seeded)

1 small onion (chopped)
1 rib celery (chopped with leaves)
1/2 pound ground round
3 cloves garlic (minced)
Fresh Basil (chopped (I add this liberally))
1 can diced tomatoes w/chiles (drain, reserve liquid)
1/3 cup ketchup
1-2 tablespoons Creole mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 to 1 cup cooked rice
Black pepper

Half the peppers by slicing them vertically to allow two large halves for stuffing. Drop the peppers into simmering salted water and blanch briefly. Remove and place into icy water to remove the heat. Dry completely and set aside for stuffing.

Add the onion and celery to a saute pan that has been drizzled with a small amount of oil. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and cook until beginning to soften. Add the ground meat and crumble as it cooks. Drop in the chopped garlic and chopped basil, then cook a bit longer.

Note: You may use fresh parsley as a substitution for the basil if you prefer.

In a small pot cook a scant 1/2 cup raw rice in 1 cup water and set aside. It is not necessary to salt the rice while cooking.

Into a mixing bowl add the cooked meat mixture, tomatoes w/chiles, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and cooked rice. Mix well but gently and add salt and pepper to taste. You may adjust seasonings with any herb or spice that you prefer at this point.

Stuff this mixture into the peppers. Place into a baking dish and pour the reserved tomato liquid over all the peppers and into the dish. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

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