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As many recipes exist for stuffed peppers as for meatloaf. Here is one really good one.

Rose's Stuffed Peppers:

  • Make one batch of basic Italian ground beef mixture
  • cook it, breaking up the chunks, until brown - can use a microwave (with stirring every 3 minutes) or a frying pan
  • pour off the grease
  • cut tops off 5 large green peppers with as large a hole as possible while still not cutting down the pepper's side
  • wash, remove seeds and white tissue from pepper's interior
  • fill peppers with cooked meat mixture, put lid back on
  • place in a large sauce pan
  • cover with sauce (below)
  • bring to a boil then lower heat
  • cook with a cover over medium heat on stovetop for about 1 hour

Stuffed Pepper sauce:

  • fry a chopped onion in olive oil
  • add 64 ounces crushed tomatoes (2 large cans)
  • salt and pepper to taste - good with lots of pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Serve over cooked rice

This is something I've invented to go along with a steak barbecue, to use up some extra peppers that were going to go bad. I would suggest that you use red and yellow peppers, as green ones can be a little too bitter.

Tasty Pepper Filling:

Put the bread in a food processor and chop it up into tiny pieces. Chop the garlic, celery, and onions. Grate the cheese, in any ratio you choose (though I would caution that parmesan can be overpowering). Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and knead together until you've got something reasonably uniform. Cut the top off of the peppers, scoop out the insides, and put a little bit of salt at the bottom (draws out some pepper-juices, makes things tasty). Scoop 'em full of the filling and top with a little cheese. Put in a casserole dish with a little bit of olive oil and bake at around 400 Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.

For many years, the UK was not exactly recognised as a gastronomic hotbed. Overcooked meat, soggy vegetables, pools of grease, bland sauces, and stodgy, oversweet puddings characterised its culinary offerings. Heaven forfend that you should mention you were vegetarian, because a funny look wouldn't have gone amiss, whilst at best you could expect a rather limp, watery pepper stuffed with something unpleasant and coagulating, or a portion of lasagne comprising overcooked pasta, thin tomato sauce, and burnt bits. If you weren't averse to meat, you'd probably prefer to chew off your arm.

Thankfully, this has changed, really quite radically, over the past fifteen or so years. So whilst Heston Blumenthal has been occupying himself with snail porridge and Gordon Ramsay has been extolling foie gras, vegetarian food has benefited from experimentation and a growing interest in local food. In fact, we think that British vegetarian food is some of the best in the world.

Consequently, we're on a mission to restore the honour of the stuffed pepper, because if you get them right, they are absolutely gorgeous and they deserve better than to be associated with unfortunate memories from the 80s. And we definitely don't have any ulterior motives, no, not one. Nothing concerning how easy they are to make, particularly when you're mass catering, nor that they are perfect vehicles for meat or vegan stuffing.

Ingrediments for twenty, as part of a buffet

  • The base
    • 10 bell peppers (we recommend using a mixture of red, yellow, and orange, but not green) — halved lengthwise through the stalk and deseeded

  • For the vegetarians
    • 1 onion — finely chopped
    • 250g (8oz) risotto rice — arborio came out of the larder
    • 1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
    • 100g (3oz) dried apricots — chopped
    • 50g (2oz) sultanas
    • 1 tspn cinnamon
    • 1 tspn cumin
    • ½ tspn paprika
    • 20g (1oz) brown sugar
    • Water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Splash of olive oil

Method — meat-filled

Chop your onion up finely and heat up a fry pan with a little oil in it. Fry the onions until soft.

Add the lamb and the spices then cook until brown.

Add the chopped apricots (and sultanas if you feel the urge) and cook until soft. Combined these steps should take about fifteen minutes and could be done during cooking the rice section if you are good at multitasking.

Allow to cool; you can drain the fat off by placing on kitchen towel/paper if you wish.

Fill your pepper halves with the mix, packing it in thoroughly into all the corners.

Place the filled peppers in an oven proof dish and add about a centimetre or half an inch of water to the dish. Place in the oven at 180° Celsius (350° Fahrenheit) for roughly 40 minutes until the peppers are tender. If you find the meat is burning, cover with foil to stop them getting too dried out.

For a little decadence you could add about 150grams (5oz) of crumbled feta cheese to mixture before stuffing or sprinkled on top of the stuffed peppers.

Serve hot or cold.

Method — vegetarian

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large saucepan. If it's non-stick, so much the better: the sugar content of this is quite high, so sticking is a very real possibility. Fry off the onion until soft and golden, which should take about five minutes. Add the rice, and cook for two minutes. It should have a glassy sheen to it. Now lower the flame to something altogether more gentle, and tip in the tomatoes, the spices, the dried fruit, and season it. Now give it a vigorous stir. But not so vigorous that you break up the grains of rice. That'd be bad.

You're pretty much making a risotto here, so when all the juice from the tomatoes has been absorbed, you'll need to add some more liquid. We use water, because this recipe is already full of strong flavours. Add a few spoonfuls of water at a time, stirring after each addition and until the rice is almost cooked. Not quite, but almost. You should have a sticky, tasty mass of rice ready to stuff into your peppers.

Stuff the rice mixture into your peppers.

Arrange your stuffed peppers in a heatproof oven dish and pour in some water to a depth of one centimetre, or half an inch. Sprinkle the top of the stuffing with a little brown sugar. Bake in the oven at 180° Celsius for roughly 40 minutes. The peppers should be melting and tender and the rice cooked through. Serve either hot or cold.

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