I have tried making stuffed peppers in the past - a long, long, time ago, so long in fact that it could well have been in another life. These attempts weren't terribly successful, as they involved a Bolognese-type mince mixture stuffing which turned out to be quite one-dimensional. I'd since given the idea up as lost, however just recently the germ of an idea had been growing in my mind. This time, I'd go for a relatively dry stuffing mixture - one involving rice, still with beef mince however this time mince which had been caramelised to promote that lovely beefy flavour. Beyond that, I ran out of definite ideas. All I had was an impression of how I wanted the flavours to be.
So, I reached for my computer keyboard and consulted t'internet. Various stuffing mixes floated past, each one had its merits but wasn't the one I was looking for. I liked the goat's cheese versions, but that didn't help with my desire to include beef. Then, I lit upon a recipe for stuffed butternut squash - which didn't include beef but sounded so wacky, it had definite potential. So thankyou, Foodista, for the original idea - here's what it turned into.
I recommend you do all the chopping and vegetable preparation before you get cooking, as everything happens fairly quickly. Oh, and many apologies - like the Ottolenghi Fennel dish, we were too keen to get tucked in and completely forgot to take a photograph. Next time!
STUFFED PEPPERS (feeds 3-4)
3-4 big fat red or yellow peppers, top removed and bottom levelled
400g beef mince
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1 medium leek, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 mushrooms, diced
2 cups cooked white rice
2 cups crisp breadcrumbs
handful of raisins or cherries or cranberries
1-2 tsp Worcester sauce
1 full to heaped tsp dried sage
- Pre-heat the oven at 190deg C.
- Put the mince on to brown in a deep frying pan, using a teaspoon of vegetable oil, to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, rub some olive oil inside and out of the peppers, season and place in a roasting dish. Bake for as long as it takes to prepare the stuffing mix.
- Sauté celery and leek until soft.
- Add garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking for some 5 minutes.
- Add rice, breadcrumbs, raisins, Worcester sauce and sage and mix to combine.
- Stuff and bake for 30 mins turning once or twice to ensure even baking.