There is a fair amount of preparation to this meal but it's well worth the
effort. There are many variations on a theme you can use with this basic recipe.
Experiment to get the balance you like best.
- Start with a large, well-formed bell pepper. A firm pepper, wide at the
base and able to sit up is best.
To stuff the pepper you'll need:
- Hamburger (I use a half pound--lately of turkeyburger)
- Onion (I use a red onion)
- Spices (I use Mrs. Dash, Garlic Powder, and Paprika)
- Wine (I use Chablis Blanc for most cooking; your taste may dictate some
- Salsa (optional - I usually only add it when there is little left and I
don't want it to go bad)
- Rice (I use 2/3 cup; the amount is not particularly critical)
- And, finally, a bit of Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on when served.
- First, prepare the bell pepper. Cut around the top and pull out the stem
portion with the seeds. Cut off the useful portion around the stem and save
it to add to the stuffing. Clean out the rest of the pepper so no seeds remain
and the center ribs are carved out to make room for the stuffing.
- Place the pepper in a pan and fill the pan with water until the pepper is
covered. Put on the stove to bring the water to a boil and let it simmer to
soften the pepper while you are preparing the stuffing. You want the pepper
to be soft when you poke the inside with a fork, but not soft enough for it
to split when you pull it out of the pan. It usually takes about 20 to 30
minutes or so for a large pepper. Your time may vary; check often and if done
early pull it out of the water; you want it to have just a slight crunch when
you eat it.
- Next, cook the rice. Assuming you use five-minute rice like I do this can
sit while you prepare the rest of the stuffing.
- Next, cook the hamburger. You want to crumble it and cook the small pieces
fully. Drain all the grease and then put the cooked hamburger into the rice.
Add the spices to the hamburger while cooking.
- Chop the vegetables into small pieces.
- Fry the vegetables in some butter/margarine until soft. Add them to the
rice/hamburger and mix completely.
- Add ketchup, wine, and (optionally) salsa and mix completely. The proportions
will vary depending on your taste but you want a mixture that is moist but
holds together on the spoon.
- Drain the pepper and sit it up in an ovenproof baking dish (one with a cover
and big enough to hold the pepper). Fill the pepper with the stuffing mixture
and pack any extra mixture around the bottom of the pepper.
- Bake covered at 325-degrees for around 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve.
- Reduce the oil used in cooking (use a spray of olive or canola oil) and
use low-fat ground chicken or turkey for the meat.
- Reduce the fat further by eliminating the meat entirely and boosting the
number of mushrooms and amount of onion and rice accordingly.
- Eliminate the Parmesan cheese when serving.
- One large pepper may serve two people or you can use smaller peppers and
give each person a whole stuffed pepper. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan on top
- You can change many of the ingredients in this recipe and still have a great
meal. When I first learned it there were no mushrooms. Adding them added some
body. Try substituting ground pork or turkey for different flavors. Change
the spice mix. Throw in some BBQ sauce in place of some of the ketchup. Let
your imagination roam.
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Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved