I realized I hadn’t made stuffed bell peppers in a while, so I figured it was time to whip ’em up.
This recipe is largely based on Chef John’s stuffed bell peppers recipe. In fact, I get most of my recipes from him.
Next time I do this recipe, I think I might cut the peppers in half vertically; that way, there will be eight peppers, and the portion sizes will be a bit more manageable. Eating an entire pepper with all of its stuffing is a LOT of food. Two other things I might try next time are: using ricotta cheese in the stuffing mixture and browning the ground beef before using it in the stuffing. I mention the latter because when you mix the ground beef in with everything else, it’s REALLY easy to over-mix. The beef breaks down and comes out really soft. That’s fine, and it’s still tasty, but I think the extra texture would really do wonders for this dish.
Here are the ingredients:
From left to right, we have marinara sauce (mine was made from san marzano tomatoes. I give those a thumbs up), Jalapeño jack cheese (because they didn’t have pepperjack), parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes, a can of beef broth, ready made rice (roasted chicken flavor), four green bell peppers, garlic cloves, a zucchini, italian parsley (with the smooth leaf), a medium yellow onion, and ground beef. I forgot to include balsamic vinegar. I used about two tablespoons.
I’ve never used a zucchini in this recipe before, but I’m really happy I did. It retains some of its crunch and it’s healthy for you. You don’t have to use ready made rice, and if you don’t mind, I’d recommend cooking your own. Ready made rice isn’t exactly the best thing in the world. It’s just easy. And I got lazy.
Now, to chop up the veggies.
You can’t see the zucchini, but it’s essentially cubed and hidden underneath that heap of parsley. That’s about five garlic cloves all minced. In the recipe, I suggest using four or less. Five was great, but very in-your-face garlic-y.
Bell peppers all prepared. Just cut off the tops, remove the seed cluster, and remove some of the white fleshy membrane inside of the pepper. I just used my fingers to pinch it off. You can use a spoon if you’d like.
Time to saute the onions in a little oil and with a pinch of salt. When they look like this, remove HALF OF THEM, and add that half to the stuffing mixing bowl. With the remaining half, add marinara sauce, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and the can of beef stock, and mix together. It will look like this:
Bring that to a simmer and let it reduce for about 15 minutes or so. While that’s doing its thing, time to mix the stuffing together. Here’s what my bowl looked like:
And of course, you can’t see anything. But just so you know, the bowl has in it the half of the onion that we cooked, the ground beef, about two tablespoons of salt, a teaspoon of black pepper, a couple of shakes of cayenne pepper, the parsley, the zucchini, the diced tomatoes, the rice, and the cheese. Some of the ingredients, like the rice and onions, may be HOT. That said, I advise beginning to mix this with a spoon. Then once, things are somewhat distributed, switch to your hand. I know, I know, it’s yucky, but there’s no better way to mix it. Here’s what mine looked like when it was done:
Pretty gross looking, huh? Don’t use the entire package of rice, by the way. It’s too much. Also, remember what I said above? I think you should cook the ground beef ahead of time. But whatever, this is how it turned out this time. Now, to stuff the peppers:
Make sure you pack that stuffing into the crevices of the peppers. I had some stuffing mixture left over, so I put it in tupperware and threw it in the freezer. I’ll find a use for it later. All that is left now is to cover the tops with parmesan cheese and add the sauce.
Ready to go into a 375 degree oven and cook, covered, for about 50 minutes. After that, take the cover off and let the cheese brown for a bit, continuing to cook for another 20 minutes or so. When they are done, they will look like THIS:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, cubed
- 4 green bell peppers, tops removed and insides cleaned
- 1 can marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup italian parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup pepperjack cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 can beef stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup rice
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat saucepan on medium high. Add oil, chopped onion, a pinch of salt, and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Reserve half onion. Add beef broth, marinara sauce, and balsamic vinegar to remaining onions and bring to a simmer, simmering for 10 to 15 minutes. In mixing bowl, add onions, ground beef, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, zucchini, cheese, rice, and canned tomatoes. Mix together. Fill peppers with mixture. Transfer marinara sauce mixture to baking dish and place peppers on top. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of peppers. Place into oven and cook, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and eat.