The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Stuffed Pepper Three Ways

Basti, our white long-haired chi, has a very bad habit. Whenever we cook, he always thinks that he’s getting fed. So he whimpers and begs… loudly. You’ll be surprised how loud a three-pound chihuahua can sound when he’s upset. We’re still in the process of correcting him and teaching him that dog food is for dogs and human food is for humans only. It’s not as if they have bad food — I buy big bags of organic Grade A dog food for them. Our older dogs still get excited when I cook but at least they don’t beg.

One of the dishes that can drive Basti nuts is stuffed pepper. We have a couple of big bell plants in our little garden and I had to think of creative ways to use them. I started with the most basic one: a soft bell stuffed with a blend of meat, rice and herbs.

I made three versions: the Classic American, the Asian, and the Asian-American.

The Classic American is mainly beef and rice enhanced with sage and parsley and is baked on a bed of Italian tomato sauce.

The Asian-American is similar to the above but with slight differences. Like adding cayenne, substituting Worcestershire with oyster sauce, and using plain crushed tomatoes instead of sauce.

The Asian is quite different. Pork is used instead of beef and rice is served on the side. Among other things.

See the recipes after the jump.

Classic American Stuffed Pepper

1 very large bell pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 of a small onion, minced
1/2 pound beef
1/3 cup of cooked white or brown rice
4 sage leaves, minced
2 sprigs of parsley, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (or see my sauce recipe here)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

  • Cut the bell top of the bell pepper off and de-seed it. Cut in half. Soak the bell in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Over low heat, saute the garlic in the oil until fragrant. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Adjust heat to medium. Add the beef and cook until browned, around 5-8 minutes. Add the rice and combine with the beef, stir-frying constantly. Add the minced sage and parsley. Drizzle with Worcestershire sauce and season with sale and pepper according to taste.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread tomato sauce over a small baking pan. Place the bells bottom side down over the sauce. Spoon beef mixture into the bells until full and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Asian-American Stuffed Pepper

Follow the same procedure as above. Most of the ingredients are similar except for these:

  • Use 2 medium or 3 small bell peppers. Do not cut in half, just stuff the meat into the whole pepper itself.
  • Add two pieces of minced cayenne (red chili) pepper.
  • Use oyster sauce instead of Worcestershire.
  • Bake with simple crushed tomatoes, not sauce. Use around 3 medium tomatoes.
  • Use very little mozzarella cheese on top. Skip the Parmesan.

Asian Stuffed Pepper

Follow the same procedure as the Classic American. Most of the ingredients are similar except for these:

  • Use ground pork instead of beef.
  • Skip the sage and parsley. Use three sprigs of minced tarragon instead.
  • Add two pieces of minced cayenne (red chili) peppers.
  • Instead of Worcestershire, use soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.
  • Do not mix the rice along with the meat. Serve it on the side.
  • Do not top with cheese.
  • Bake by itself with no sauce for only 20 minutes, not 30.
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