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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

When Life Gives You These......

bell-peppers

You really just HAVE to make these......

stuffed-peppers5

I saw these stunning red bell peppers at the market the other day, and they stopped me in my tracks. Not only were they gorgeous, but they were HUGE and perfectly shaped! The minute I laid eyes on them, I knew that being stuffed and baked was their destiny.

I hadn't made stuffed peppers in eons, and frankly, I wasn't sure I even remembered how. But, after a quick phone call to Mom, and a little surfing around on Food Blog Search, I knew just what to do.

I decided to start with a basic stuffed pepper recipe, using a combination of ground beef, veal and pork mixed with rice for my filling. I used a short grain Valencia rice because I already had an opened package in my pantry, but you can use any kind of rice you'd like. After the peppers were stuffed, they were baked in a bath of tomato sauce. For a bit of a Greek flair, I added some cinnamon to both the filling and the accompanying tomato sauce. For a little oomph, I added some smoked paprika to both as well.

And the tomato sauce! I must tell you about that sauce. I did something with it that I have never done before. In addition to the regular cast of characters, plus the cinnamon and smoked paprika, I also whisked in a can of tomato soup. Yes, you heard me, TOMATO SOUP! Why, you ask? Well, first of all, I wanted to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Secondly, I also wanted the sauce to have a touch of sweetness, which I thought would complement the cinnamon. Thirdly, I'm just crazy like that sometimes.

stuffed-peppers4

Did it work? A resounding YES! This tomato sauce was so velvety, that it was almost creamy. It had a warm, mellow, slightly spicy/sweet flavor that kept improving the longer it simmered. In fact, I made some meatballs out of the leftover filling and simmered them in the leftover sauce the next day. I served them over some plain, boiled potatoes and I swear, people, magic happened!

These stuffed peppers are definitely something best saved for a lazy weekend day. To do them right, you've got to take your time. But, it is oh, so worth it! You also have to judge exactly how long to bake them. The time will vary depending upon the size of your peppers. As I said, mine were very large, so I did have to add a good thirty minutes to the baking time. If you use smaller peppers, you probably won't need that much time.

I served the stuffed peppers with a green salad, tossed very simply with some olive oil and vinegar, and a loaf of very crusty French bread. That's all you need. This dish is extremely hearty, satisfying and filling. All of us here at Chez SGCC adored it! In fact, I think I noticed Mr. SGCC's eyes roll back in his head a little as he took his fist bite.

stuffed-peppers3

Now, I know it's Tuesday, and Tuesday is TWD day, but this week's recipe was Dorie's Chocolate Armagnac Cake, chocolate being the operative word here. It is basically another dense, rich, flourless chocolate cake made with prunes and brandy. I'll be honest with you, people. After all of the chocolate that has passed through my kitchen in the past week, I couldn't bear the thought (or expense) of making One. More. Chocolate. Dessert. Even I have my limits! In the past seven days, I have made chocolate covered Caramel Crunch Bars, a flourless Chocolate Valentino Cake and not one, but TWO kinds of chocolate truffles. I've gone through three pounds of Guittard and Valrhona chocolate, pounds of butter and countless eggs. Melted chocolate has adorned my cabinets, countertops, walls and me! By the time I was through, I could have passed for a great big, giant chocolate truffle myself! So, I hope that you'll forgive the transgression, but I just couldn't do chocolate again. If you're in a chocolate mood, please stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie Blogroll to see lots of Chocolate Armagnac Cakes. If you'd like the recipe, you can find it at Lyb's site, And Then I Do the Dishes.

Stuffed Peppers alla SGCC
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:

6 large red or yellow bell peppers
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2-3 tbs olive oil
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup short grain rice
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, or more to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon, or more to taste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.

Wash, dry and then cut the tops off of the peppers. Hollow out the peppers, removing all ribs and seeds. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil and add the onions. Lower heat to medium and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute a minute or two more. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except tomato sauce, and mix well.

Using a spoon or scoop, stuff the peppers with the filling. Save the tops for later. Place the stuffed peppers in a roasting pan or large casserole dish and top with tomato sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 1 hour. Then, remove the foil and put the tops on the peppers. Bake 20-30 minutes more, until peppers begin to get browned and the sauce is nice and bubbly.

Serve.

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

2-3 tbs olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbs fresh oregano leaves
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2-1 tsp smoked paprika to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic, thyme and oregano, and saute a minute or two more.

Add crushed tomatoes, soup and water and mix well to combine. Stir in cinnamon stick and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil, then lower heat so that sauce is gently simmering. Simmer, covered for about 20-25 minutes. Uncover and simmer another 15-20 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.

Remove cinnamon stick, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

50 comments:

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Those are the most luxurious looking stuff peppers I've ever seen.

No worries about the chocolate cake. Why eat a chocolate cake with prunes in it anyway? You know, lately I've been reconsidering buying expensive chocolate. People often don't finish their desserts after dinner and why buy expensive chocolate if half a piece of cake is left on everyone's plate anyway?

Tanya said...

I didn't even read the entire post before thinking I had to leave a comment just for those gorgeous pics of the peppers! Roasting peppers is my favorite way to use peppers. Gorgeous!

Peter M said...

I am going to coin a new word..these are "gorgeousilissimmo"!

Now I want another batch of stuffed peppers...the red ones are the best, eh?

Ginny said...

Gorgeous! I would have to have them too... i love it when something just starts flirting with you at the store and you know what you want to make that night...

Tangled Noodle said...

These peppers are extraordinarily beautiful! I might have thought it a shame to roast them if the end result wasn't equally fantastic. Way better than chocolate today!

Nina Timm said...

Hell's Bells, this looks good!!!! I am inspired just looking at the peppers, you must have been over-the-moon!!

5 Star Foodie said...

Gorgeous peppers, and a terrific recipe! I love the mixture of different meats and the tomato sauce sound really good!

Meg said...

Oh wow! I never thought about stuffing red peppers! Delicious!

Medena (-Melitta-) said...

Mouthwatering delicious!!!
I make them quite similar, well minus the fabulous tomato sauce part! Awesome recipe!

Claudia said...

All your photos are so well done. I love red bells and splurge on one quite often. They're very expensive here though - almost $7 a lb. I should probably be growing them.

Hillary said...

I love that you have roasted your peppers. This is a great touch!

pigpigscorner said...

They look perfectly roasted! The filling looks and sounds yummy!

Olga said...

Great minds think alike :) I just made stuffed peppers yesterday.

Love the addition of paprika in yours.

Vera said...

Stunning!

Jamie said...

Those peppers went from beautiful to mouth watering! I recently made stuffed peppers for the first time, and stuffed mine with quinoa,spinach, tomatoes and artichoke hearts they turned out so well. I posted the recipe if you want to check them out.

duodishes said...

Actually. The peppers sound more satisfying than the cake. Love how you stood your ground!

Passionate About Baking said...

Stunning, just stunning. Look at what good you brought out of the peppers! There's been a load too much of chocolate all over blogland lately. I'm rolling up my eyes at this gorgeous dish, the flavours & colours Susan. WOW!!

Bellini Valli said...

Stuffed Peppers are just one of those delicious homey dishes that I love so much:D

Maria said...

Great find! The peppers are gorgeous!!

Madam Chow said...

I, too, am suffering from chocolate burnout! At any rate, this dish looks so good - I'm a big fan of peppers and tomatoes, and I love what you did with the sauce. Very creative.

noble pig said...

Oh seriously this is stunning. What a good idea!

haleysuzanne said...

YES! These look amazing - I love stuffed peppers. I can't wait to try your version.

Kristen said...

Oh wow, Susan! These do look fantastic! Eyes rolling to the back of your head fantastic for sure. Yum!

Ingrid said...

If you would have said to me, hey Ingrid I made stuffed peppers today, I would have been like, oh, cool and gone about my business. But YOUR PHOTOS stopped me in my tracks and has me wondering, like maybe I need to give stuffed peppers a try. Seriously GREAT photos.
~ingrid

MaryBeth said...

WOW..fabulous picture the color is slap you in the face gorgeous...

Maris said...

These look so delicious and what's better is that I've been looking for a recipe for stuffed peppers for the longest time! I had some from a Persian restaurant recently and they were good but not great, I know I could make them better!

Tartelette said...

I am so making these for my parents this week! They are fabulous!

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Those look wonderful Susan. I have been promising my husband stuffed peppers for weeks but I have come out of the craziest February in ages and March looks to be equally insane! But seeing this just may make me forget the madness and head for the kitchen.

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Those look wonderful Susan. I have been promising my husband stuffed peppers for weeks but I have come out of the craziest February in ages and March looks to be equally insane! But seeing this just may make me forget the madness and head for the kitchen.

Colleen said...

OH WOW WOW WOW!! What stunning peppers....will have to try this recipe..you've inspired me :o)thanx!!! xxx

EAT! said...

No on my list of entrees to make. I have never made a stuffed pepper. Unbelievable, right?

Peppers have been big, beautiful and cheap at my market this past week. Adding to my shopping list.

Snooky doodle said...

these look so good and nice. i love red pepper their taste is sweeter :)

Elle said...

These look fabulous! What gorgeous peppers!

Debbie said...

The stuffed peppers look great. They are one of my favorite foods. I cooked them stovetop in a dutch oven and they come out pretty good that way too!

J.Danger said...

looks good. I usually use my left over peppers to make sandwiches for the hubby but I will definitely try this next time.

Elyse said...

these stuffed peppers look divine! one of my favorites, for sure. can't wait to try them!!

Chez Us said...

Susan, these photos are drool worthy - WOW! Great job!! I love stuffed peppers I will have to give this recipe a whirl!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Great photos Susan. Those peppers really do look quite perfect.

Helene said...

It's been such a long time since I made stuffed peppers. I'm so hungry looking at these delicious peppers that you made.

Elra said...

Absolutely beautiful Susan, I am sure taste great too.
Cheers,
elra

AmyRuth said...

The photos of the beautiful red peppers are so inspiring. Very happy. I love stuffed peppers too. Maybe chocolate cake after for dessert? ha ha ha
Just kidding. No worries here, but I surely liked it. Its was very good.
AmyRuth

RecipeGirl said...

Those ARE gorgeous. Makes me want to go to the Farmer's Market!

I always forget about stuffed peppers. You can really do a lot with them to make them a low fat meal. Wonder if Mr. RecipeGirl would consider it 'dinner' or not? Probably not. But he's out of town and I'm thinkin' these look like a great dinner to me!!

Manggy said...

Okay, I've never had or made stuffed peppers before but I've wanted to. And now that I've seen your pumped-up version, I now absolfruitly HAVE TO. Why do you do this to me Susan?!? :P Gah, it's 2AM and I'm so hungry all of a sudden!

diva said...

this is beautiful!! and i can already taste it in my mouth. nothing as comforting and fulfilling as roasted stuffed peppers! x

Erin said...

These look delicious! I love stuffed peppers!

Karen said...

These sound delicious and look absolutely gorgeous!

Karen said...

These sound delicious and look absolutely gorgeous!

Kevin said...

Great looking stuffed peppers! I like the use of the cinnamon.

Gina said...

These look ammmmazing! I love stuffed peppers, especially red ones!

Sophie said...

Yummie yummie, give me sommie :)!!!