Saturday, February 17, 2007
Classic Stuffed Green Peppers
This is a recipe we've made for years, from our well worn 1985 Betty Crocker Cookbook, given to me by my sister for Christmas that year. You'd think after 20 years of making this recipe, I'd have it memorized, but right there on page 39, I've got the page corner turned in so I can find it easily. Once I get it opened and get started, it pretty much flows from my head, but I always seem to need to have the book to get started. And of course, I don't follow the book's recipe exactly. I use tomato soup (my wife's idea), I add oregano and basil, and use real garlic, eliminating the salt and garlic salt.
I NEVER use garlic salt - I don't even own any. If you've got it, throw it away ad start using the real thing. Just crush it a bit and mince it up. And for more Garlic ideas, checkout Garlicster, garlic recipes galore...
I start with 3 large green peppers. I try to find peppers with 4 lobes (look on the bottom and count...). They cut in half easier, more evenly and sit inthe pan better - more balanced. They also look better and that never hurts.
As for rhe beef, around these parts, it's impossible to find a package of ground beef that is just 1 pound. For some reason, the groceries package the meat in 1.3 pound packages now. This works out pretty well, though, especially given the size of the peppers in the stores these days.
ok, here's the recipe with my modifications:
Classic Stuffed Green Peppers
3 large green peppers
1.3 pounds lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup Minute rice (dried pre-cooked rice)
1 small can (6 ounces) tomato sauce
1 12 oz can condensed tomato soup
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dry Oregano
1 tablespoon Dry Basil
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
A big bowl of ice water (to cool the peppers down after parboiling and before stuffing)
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom, making 6 halves. (see the photo above)
Remove stem and seeds. This can be done easily by holding the pepper in the palm of your left hand (open end up) with the stem facing you. Place you right thumb on the stem and insert your right index and middle fingers into the pepper just behind the seed head. Pull up on the bottom of the seed head while gently pushing on the stem and the whole thing should come out cleanly. You can also precut the top of the stem area to make it even easier.
Once the stem and seeds are out, trim the membranes down.
Place the prepared peppers in a large pot of with enough boiling water to cover them for about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the peppers from the boiling water and quickly immerse directly into the ice water to stop them from cooking.Brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic in a skillet and drain any excess fat.
Add the can of tomato soup, basil, oregano, and rice. Stir to blend well.
Line a baking dish (9x13) with foil.
Stuff each pepper with meat mixture and lay them in the lined baking dish.
Top each pepper with some tomato sauce.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in oven for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, uncover the baking dish and top the peppers with mozzarella. Put the dish back into the oven and bake a few minutes longer, until the cheese is nicely melted. I like to turn the oven to broil to just brown the cheese a bit, too.
On the side, a crusty sourdough with tomato butter never hurts. Last time we made this we also had a bottle of chianti (no liver or fava beans, thank you ...) that went along very well, too.