Monday, November 13, 2006

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Diva's stuffed red bell peppers

Every time I cook rice for my husband and myself, I always end up with leftovers and it usually ends up in the refrigerator, forgotten like the Where's the Beef lady from the 80's. Yesterday, however, I used up some left over rice and made these delicious stuffed red bell peppers. The original recipe I found used paprika as a spice, but I decided to go more on the Mediterranean side using cinnamon and other exotic spices. And you know what? It worked! They came out very tasty. Also, I used 1 cup tomato sauce and 1-1/4 cup Prego traditional sauce. Manga!

INGREDIENTS (makes 2 large stuffed peppers)

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large, red bell peppers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2-1/4 cup jarred tomato sauce

Cut off top 1/2 inch of peppers and reserve. Scoop seeds from cavities. Discard stems and chop pepper tops. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and bay leaf and sauté for 2 minutes. Add parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and chopped red bell pepper pieces and sauté until onions soften, about 6 more minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of cooked rice and mix to combine. Turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

In a large bowl add the ground beef. Mix in 1 egg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon each of nutmeg and ground cloves. Mix in 1/4 cup tomato sauce, then the cooled onion mixture.

Fill pepper cavities with beef mixture. Stand filled peppers in single layer in heavy large pot. Pour remaining 2 cups tomato sauce around peppers. Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 20 minutes. Spoon some sauce over each pepper. Cover; cook until peppers are tender and filling is cooked through and firm, about more 20 minutes (40 minutes total cooking time). A spicy California zinfandel goes wonderful with this dish.

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