August 10, 2012

Italian Pork & Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers

The garden is bursting with fruits and vegetables right now and I have been trying to use up zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, green beans, etc.  While I prefer not to fire up the oven for extended periods of time during the hot days of summer, I decided to use the bell peppers for something that my husband and I were craving... stuffed peppers!  Stuffed peppers are very versatile and it is easy to put your own twist on them.  I have made countless variations of them but this is my husband's favorite way to have them.  I served these with freshly picked corn and tomatoes from the garden, and mashed potatoes.  

Some other ideas:  Place strips of bacon on top of the peppers before placing them in the oven.  You can substitute the beef and pork with ground turkey or ground chicken.  My husband prefers the stuffing to be meatloaf-like but you can certainly cook the meat before stuffing the peppers instead.  Simply add the beef to the skillet after the onions and  carrots are soft and cook until brown.  At that point, you can also add ingredients such as cooked rice or quinoa, red wine, beans, chopped tomato, corn, etc. to the cooked meat.  

Check out these variations for some additional ideas:

Serves 4
  • 4 medium bell peppers
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided  
  • 1/4 c onion, diced 
  • 1/4 c carrot, diced 
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced 
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 large egg, beaten 
  • 1/4 c breadcrumb 
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley 
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp paprika 
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes  
  • Tomato sauce, for topping 
  • Shredded cheese, for topping
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Slice off the tops of the bell peppers.  Carefully remove the seeds and veins from the inside of each pepper and discard.  Add the peppers to the water and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain the peppers, pat dry and set them aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and carrots and cook until soft, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Remove the onion mixture with a slotted spoon and set aside.  

In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork and egg.  Add the onion mixture, breadcrumb, Worcestershire, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, paprika and red pepper flakes to the meat mixture.  Mix well with your hands to combine.  

Lightly brush the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over the bell peppers.  Season the peppers with salt and pepper inside and out.  Stuff each pepper with the meat mixture.  Place the peppers in a baking dish.  It is best to use a baking dish that is just large enough to hold the peppers because it will keep them from falling over while baking.  Place the baking dish on a larger baking sheet to prevent any spilling over in the oven.  

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the peppers from the oven.  Spoon tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Return the bell peppers to the oven and bake for 15 minutes longer.  

Allow the peppers to cool for 5 minutes before serving. 


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