21 September 2014

BEEF AND RICE STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

Sweet red bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice and cooked in tomato sauce make a delicious everyday family meal. This is my tried-and-true recipe and a classic of comfort foods. They are best served piping hot, right from the oven, with mashed potatoes or a salad of your choice.


Ingredients:
12 medium-sized red bell peppers
500 grams lean ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 large yellow onion
1 medium carrot
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
250 ml cold water, for the rice
100 grams long grain rice
300 ml hot water
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Preparation:
Cut the tops off of the bell peppers, remove the seeds and membranes. Wash them thoroughly with cold water and place them in a large baking dish, cut side up. Set the pan aside for the time being. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat and sauté finely chopped onion and shredded carrots for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add the crushed garlic, oregano, salt, paprika and pepper. Simmer for about 5 more minutes. Add in the ground beef and cook for about 15 minutes, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon as you cook. The meat should be fully browned. Remove from heat.
Wash the rice until the water is clear, then place it a large pot and pour over 250 ml (1 cup) cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. When it starts to boil, lower the heat and let the rice simmer, undisturbed, for about 10 minutes, without the lid. The rice should absorb all the water during the simmering, but if it doesn't, just let it cook for another minute or two. Take the pot off the heat, put the lid on and leave it for 10 minutes covered. In a large bowl, combine the cooked meat and vegetables with the cooked rice, mix very well and stuff the prepared peppers. Place them back in the baking dish. Mix together the hot water and tomato paste, pour it over the peppers and bake them in a preheated oven, at 220˚C (430˚F) for about 45-50 minutes or until the peppers are completely soft. Yields 6 servings.

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