This is one my favorite dishes. I made it a few times so I’m still perfecting my recipe. The traditional method uses rice (which is what I use), but others use moistened bread instead of rice. Both are delicious, but I wanted to start with a “classic” method before I tried to experiment too much. 😉 This recipe looks long and/or complicated, and it’s really not. It’s so completely worth the effort though. And once you do it once, you’ll see that it’s not as bad as it seems. Just a little prep work.
This dish is a 2-part dish, one is the actual stuffed peppers, and the other is the sauce you cook them in. I make the sauce almost like a soup; it’s great for dipping a hearty piece of bread.
This is what I have so far:
Ingredients for the peppers:
1 lb ground chicken
1 lb ground beef (lean)
1 very large grated onion (I use a white onion, you can also use 3 medium white onions)
3 tbsp rice (partially cooked)
salt, pepper (to taste, but I like about 4-6 tbsp of salt, depending on the meat)
8 medium red peppers (I prefer red peppers because they’re sweeter than the others)
Ingredients for the sauce:
1 qt of chicken stock (if you don’t have that around, water would work too)
2 bell peppers chopped (any color, but I like red and yellow for the sauce)
1 medium onion chopped
1 14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp of tomato paste
3 bay leaves
2-3 tbsp of oil
salt, black pepper, paprika, ground cumin to taste
1. Combine the meat, grated onion, salt, black pepper, and rice in a large bowl. Mix till everything is incorporated.
2. Prepare the peppers. Cut off the tops of the peppers and clean out the insides, removing any seeds and ribs. Reserve the top part of the pepper for the sauce (not the stem though).
3. Using a spoon, stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.
4. In a large pot, prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in the pot and place onions and peppers into the hot pot. Cook for about 5 minutes till the vegetables get soft. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce the heat and place the stuffed peppers into the pot carefully. Here is a trick to “set” the mixture inside the peppers so things don’t fall out. Ladle some of the boiling sauce on top of the peppers. You’ll see the color of the meat change right away, and it will look “solid”. This helps prevent the meat escaping from the pepper if it were to tip over in the pot.
5. Bring back to a boil.
6. Add the canned tomatoes.
7. Now that the peppers (and meat balls*) are in the pot, and the sauce is done, make sure that the peppers are covered by the liquid. If not, add some water. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour.
* If you have any meat mixture left over, make some meat balls and through them into the pot too.