Alex's Recipes

 

Alex's Double Stuffed Peppers

 

Serves 5

At a party one year I got stuck as "camp cook". What was needed was something quick and easy, inexpensive, different and delicious, and not skimpy on serving size. You can pre-prepare most or all of it, but I didn't, and before dinner I still had time to entertain more than cook. For a "fun" change, this should do the trick. It was a big hit, and I was asked for the recipe. I agreed. Dang! This one serves five hungry people very well. You can adjust the ingredients for five up or down, but it helps to figure a minimum of 1/2 cup compacted stuffing per 1/2 bell pepper. This calculation worked perfectly for me. Here's the ingredients you need:

 

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked rice
1.25 lbs ground round or sirloin (lean)
1/2 lb bacon, thin-sliced
(1) 12 oz can tomato sauce
(2/3) medium yellow onion
(5) cherry tomatoes
1/3 lb medium or sharp cheddar
(5) large whole green bell peppers
oregano - 1 tbsp or to liking
sage - maybe 1 tsp, or to liking

 

Boil your rice first. I like a rice that doesn't need washing like Calrose medium grain. If you always burn rice, try this instead. Throw out the directions. To one part uncooked rice, bring to a boil two parts water. Add a pat of butter or whatever. Return to a boil. Reduce to lowest heat. Then add rice, and stir. Cover. After five minutes, stir again. Re-cover. Turn the burner OFF. Don't touch or snoop for twenty minutes. It'll produce two parts of perfect cooked rice. While you're waiting:

Rinse peppers in cold water, cut in half the long way. With a sharp knife cut out the stem and stem-base parts from the shells, and all the "white" inside parts. Rinse out all trimmings and seeds. Lay them out in 1 or 2 large baking pans or Pyrexes. I don't grease my pans and that works fine.

Preslice the cheddar into 20 "snack-thick" slices, 2 per pepper half to cover the stuffing you'll make. Cut in half 10 strips of bacon to criss-cross over the cheese on each piece. You want the cheese to make the excess bacon fat meltings to mostly drip over the edge of the peppers.

Rinse, de-stem and cut in half the cherry tomatoes. Chop the onion, but not too finely. You want to leave some texture.

After 20 minutes, uncover the rice, dump it in a large mixing bowl, and let it cool 'til you can comfortably handle it. Wash your hands again for show, shred your uncooked ground beef (it really needs to be lean as its cooked fats have nowhere else to go), and thoroughly mix into the rice. (If you think you can do it as fast by wooden spoon, go for it!) It's easier to start with part of the rice and part of the burger and work your way up, and it helps to have a friend to add the oregano, sage and chopped onions.

This is your stuffing. It should already smell GREAT! Work it into each of the pepper halves with a big spoon, serving size of better. Don't be afraid to compress it a bit to make sure each portion is STUFFED. You should be able to use it all up if the peppers are ordinary California "large".

Now, pour over these your plain old tomato sauce. For variety you could try commercial sauces like Ragu, Homestead or Lucca, but this recipe's already committed you to home seasoning. Besides, I think commercial sauces would be overkill. You already have enough flavors and textures.

Two slices of cheese parallel the long axis, criss-cross the bacon, and two cherry tomato halves upside-down fixed on top with toothpicks so they don't slide off. Into the oven, uncovered, they go.

Use 425 degrees. To serve five, an hour will be about right, or 1-1/4 hours if people snoop a lot. We did. 45 minutes is about right for a serving for two (four halves). I go for finished appearance and smell anyway. I like the bacon medium crisp and the cheddar almost crusty but not scorched. The tomatoes will start to wrinkle and brown a bit but will be baked, not scorched. The outside of the pepper shells will "look" cooked but not browned at all. Play it by ear. It's hard to go wrong. I like the crispy texture of the cheese and bacon when a bit over-done, when the tomatoes are almost but not quite "stewed". If you like everything done without a hint of burnt look or taste, experiment with precooking your burger mix about 50% of "done" instead, and cut back on oven time. You'll still be right.

Either way, this is a meal that's hard to fail to please. Just let it cool a bit before serving, maybe long enough for a glass of your favorite beverage. Enjoy.

 

Category:
Prepared_Dishes

 

 

 

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