These stuffed bell peppers are delicious and no hassle to make what so ever. They’re a full meal all on their own and are easily stored and reheated to enjoy later. Stuffed peppers originate in the Mediterranean basin, over the centuries almost any country you visit has adopted its own variation.
How to prep the peppers
Should you char? You can choose whether or not you want to char your bell peppers. I don’t always do this, sometimes I like the peppers to be slightly firm and crispier but giving them a good char on the outside adds loads of depth and flavor. You can do this one of three ways. The first (which I recommend) is to use the grill. Lightly coat the peppers with some olive oil and lay them over direct heat until their sides begin to blacken then flip and repeat on all sides.
Lighting up the grill is a hassle however so using a broiler or the oven delivers the same result with not so much of a smokey flavor. To do this again cover the papers in a little olive oil and either stick them under the broiler or into a really hot, preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
How to cut your peppers: You can cut them lengthways or remove the top and fill them like that it’s down to your preference. If you decide to fill and bake them vertically it can be a little difficult getting them to stand. An easy solution to this is to slice a tiny piece off the bottom to even it out and they’ll stand perfectly.
The filling is the personality of your peppers so it’s important to get it right. One of the biggest buzzkills for this recipe is undercooked rice grains. Always make sure you give your filling a taste before filling the peppers; if the rice is a little hard just add some more beef stock, cover, and simmer until it’s all absorbed.
Seasoning the filling with tomato paste, paprika, and Italian seasoning gives this recipe it’s traditional Mediterranean roots (Obviously salt and pepper are also a must). Fresh garlic and onions bring it together as an all in one, super meal. Some people like to add binders like bread crumbs or eggs to their filling, but we’re not making meatballs.
Toppings & Garnishes
Good stuffed bell peppers aren’t complete without good cheese. One that melts well in particular. A lot of things factor into how cheese melts (moisture content, fat content, the curdling process, the aging process, etc.) Mozzarella, which is what we’re using in this recipe gives a really nice gooey melt. Other cheese that melts well (and that I think go really well with this recipe) are monetary jack, cheddar, burrata, and gouda. Try a mix if you really like cheese.
A fresh herb garnish makes the finished dish aromatic and as most of you probably already know, our sense of smell makes up the majority of what we taste. Don’t limit yourself to parsley. Basil is another one of my favorites and brings a nice sweetness to a dish. Thyme has hits of lemon and also brings a nice freshness.
- 6 large bell peppers
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of uncooked rice
- Salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 ½ tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 ⅓ cups of beef stock
- Around 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Prepare the peppers by cutting off the top, coring them, and taking out the seeds. Coat them with olive oil and char them in a preheated oven, under the broiler, or on the grill. How long depends on how much of a char you want, in a 400-degree oven it would be around 10 to 15 minutes. Charing them is optional if you prefer more of a crunch to your pepper you can skip this part.
- Brown the beef in a skillet over medium-high heat and set aside.
- In a deep frying pan heat the olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes with salt and pepper.
- Add the uncooked, rinsed rice and cook off the express water. Add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning and paprika. Toast the rice for 3-4 minutes before pouring in the beef stock and simmering until the rice is cooked through.
- Stand your peppers up in a baking dish. If some of them don’t stand on their own just slice a small piece off the bottom to give them a flat surface,
- Fill the peppers with the beef mixture, top with cheese, and bake them in a preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot or cover and store them in the fridge to reheat late.
- To reheat them, simply place them in a hot oven covered with aluminum foil for around 10 minutes.