Just like a Southern belle once told me about shoo-fly pie, “I believe it’s an acquired taste,” stuffed green bell peppers also fall into the same category. They just aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. This week, as I informed a number of inquiring readers that I’d be posting a recipe for Stuffed Peppers, I got one of two reactions. Only one was positive.
I have to say that the “results” were about 50-50. Realizing I’m taking a chance at reducing readership this week, I’m still going with my originally planned recipe. As for those who don’t like Stuffed Peppers? Well, they can stuff something else.
Jeff Simon is a great guy. He is a talented musician and when he plays the mandolin, people don’t just listen, they stop and listen. Jeff is also gifted at working with kids and has led the games at our Vacation Bible School for the last couple of years. He is also the third generation “Simon the Plowman” in Spring City, where he and his parents Dave and Liz, operate an excavating and landscaping business. Jeff operates the backhoe like a surgeon. He is also a talented cook and whips up any number of his own creations in the kitchen to the amazement of his wife, Amy. Amy is also an accomplished musician, and they have been making beautiful music together both before and since they’ve been married. Their music-making recently produced a son, Landon.
As a result, Jeff is now a fellow “Dad in the Kitchen.”
Jeff makes an amazing stuffed zucchini. He halves it, hollows out the core and stuffs it with Steak-Um beef steaks, bacon, mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce and bakes it. He’s still perfecting the recipe, but says he’ll share it when he's ready to go public.
Naturally, Jeff has a garden, and it produced a bumper crop of peppers this year. I lucked out when I stopped by the farm one day just as he was wondering what he was going to do with all of them. The result was a stuffed grocery bag of green bell peppers, with some red and yellow ones, too. I also found a few Jalapeños on the bottom.
As a kid, whenever we would have stuffed peppers, I would eat the “guts” and pass on the “containers.” Now that I’m older, I have acquired the taste and love them. I did not research recipes for this post, and just went with what I had available and what I thought would be good. My friend Marge doesn’t cook the ground beef before baking the peppers, and I think that would produce a more meat loaf-like consistency. If you do that, you may need to allow more baking time. We both agreed that we love the aroma of stuffed green peppers in the oven!
(click on any image to enlarge it)
(click on any image to enlarge it)
8-10 green bell peppers
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 1/3 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup frozen corn
1 (10.5 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup long grain brown rice (prepared according to package directions)
2½ cups prepared spaghetti sauce, divided
Prepare two servings of long grain brown rice. For the rice I used, that was a half cup of uncooked rice. Cook the rice according to package directions.
Mince the onion using a food chopper or dice it finely. Sauté in a frying pan with 1 Tablespoon cooking oil. Cook until the onion starts to turn translucent.
Add the ground beef and brown. Near the end of browning the beef, add the salt, pepper, oregano and parsley flakes. Drain the fat.
Prepare peppers by removing tops and seeds. Place peppers in a baking dish. One of the peppers I used was a little uneven on the bottom and I had to trim it so that it would sit level.
In a large bowl combine the browned ground beef, corn, chopped red pepper, kidney beans, cooked rice, and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Pack the mixture into the prepared green peppers using a teaspoon, filling each pepper solidly and rounding the top. Place peppers in a 350° oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Spoon the remaining spaghetti sauce on top of each pepper and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the internal temperature of the meat mixture has reached 160°.