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Stuffed Sweet Peppers

My Omi used to make the most delicious stuffed sweet peppers in a paprika sauce. I decided to take a try at it in my own way.

Photography by Robert Demetrius

For the stuffing:
1 pound ground pork
1 ¼ cup cooked long grain rice
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the sweet peppers:
6 medium sized sweet peppers
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups boiling water

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¾ cup broth
1 teaspoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoons sour cream
Sweet Peppers
Start by bringing 8 cups of water to a boil. The boiling water will be used to parboil the sweet peppers before stuffing them. By doing so, it will reduce the cooking time when stuffed. This may take about 20 minutes so you have a bit of time to you the rest of your prep work.
Cleaned Sweet Peppers
While the water is heating, clean 6 medium sweet peppers, by cutting off the caps, removing the seeds and membranes and rinsing them out. Do not discard the caps, as we will be using then to cover the sweet peppers. Place the peppers in a deep baking dish that is not too large, making sure the peppers have enough room to stand up and not fall over on their sides. Place the caps in the baking dish but along the sides of the sweet peppers, so that they are also parboiled with the peppers.

Once that is done, we will start on the stuffing. I have used a heavy hand on the spices since the peppers will not be seasoned and I want the flavors of the stuffing to infuse into the peppers.
Onions, Garlic and Herbs
Pour 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a heated pan, on medium low heat before tossing in 1 medium onion, finely diced along with 2 cloves garlic, finely diced, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, two tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Make sure the heat is at medium low because I made the herbs infuse in the oil for about 5 ½ minutes and you don’t want the herbs to burn. 
Ground Pork with Onions, Garlic and Herbs
Then add 1 pound of ground pork, seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Try to break up the ground pork as best as you can, as we don’t want clumps of meat once we blend the rice and meat mixture together. Sauté the meat for another 6 minutes so that it is well cooked through, then remove from the burner.
Sweet Peppers Filled with Boiling Water
The water should be boiling by now. Use a ladle to carefully pour the hot water into each sweet pepper cavity and pour the rest of the water into the baking dish. Leave the peppers in the hot water for about 10 minutes until they soften.

Pork Mixture and Rice
While the peppers are soaking in the hot water, mix the pork mixture with 1¼ cup cooked long grain rice and 2 more tablespoons freshly chopped parsley.

Pre-heat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit.

As soon as the 10 minutes have passed, take a pair of tongs and carefully pour out the water in the sweet peppers as well as discard the water in the baking dish, just make sure not to discard the caps. Place the peppers back into the baking dish, without the caps and sprinkle the peppers with 1 teaspoon salt. Just keep the caps on the side until we are ready to place the baking dish into the oven.
Stuffed Sweet Peppers Before Baking
Lightly beat an egg, adding it to the to the pork and rice mixture then fill the sweet peppers and cover then with their respective caps, placing them back into the baking dish.

Olive Oil and Tomato Paste
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and carefully add 3 tablespoons tomato paste, try to even the paste all over the pan until the olive oil starts turning red, then add ¾ cup of broth. 

Tomato Sauce
Let it simmer until it starts thickening for about 3 minutes then add 1 teaspoon crème fraîche and 1 tablespoon sour cream. Pour the sauce in the baking dish with the sweet peppers.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes in the oven.

Stuffed Sweet Pepper
Once the peppers are done, place the peppers in a plate and pour some of the sauce on the plate and drizzle a bit over the pepper. Serves 4.Voilà. Enjoy!

NOORISH  – (May 4, 2011 at 1:34 AM)  

This is a wonderful recipe. I love how you show step-by-step cooking instructions...I'm to lazy to do that!!

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