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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Hi, Jess today. Unfortunately, due to starting my literature review and starting work in the lab (which I will not discuss here - my subject matter would not make for good reading in a food blog...) my cooking has been rather unimaginative of late.

However, I have had the chance to make stuffed peppers recently, so I thought I'd share a few recipes here with you. Now, there are so many different ways to make stuffed peppers with different fillings and such, I couldn't possibly talk about them all here. However, they're so easy to make and so versatile, they definitely deserve a mention.

So, I do love traditional stuffed peppers. The ones filled with beef mince. However, there are so many other things you can stuff a pepper with. Personally, I prefer to make stuffed peppers with large red bell peppers, but yellow ones work great. And also, mini stuffed peppers are fun too, made with the small sweet peppers that are popular at the moment. You can normally find a good pack of mini peppers in the Tesco Finest section. So these fillings are great whatever way you like. I would normally serve them with rice (I think brown rice works best) but pasta/potatoes/whatever your chosen carb is will work fine. Or they go great with some steamed veg or salad if you're keeping it low-carb - literally, whatever works for you!

Traditional (adapted from my Mum's recipe)
My Mum always used to make traditional stuffed peppers as an alternative to roast dinners on Sundays. They are basically bolognese in peppers, with pasta.

1pack lean beef mince (I say pack because it depends on how much you're making, 500g should be plenty for 4 people)
1 onion (red is a personal preference), chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 apple, chopped (I use braeburns)
1 pint beef stock (gluten free - I use Kallo)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
A little olive oil
Paprika, basil and oregano to season
& 4 large red peppers, deseeded

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/200C.
Firstly, boil the peppers for about 5 minutes, so that they are starting to soften but not too much. Once boiled, they can be left on the side until later.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan, and fry the onion and garlic together until they start to brown. Add the mince and fry together until the mince is browned and then add the mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes until the mushrooms soften and add the chopped tomatoes and apple, followed by the stock and seasonings. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 10-15 minutes, until it looks like a bolognese should.
Place the peppers in a suitable baking dish (pyrex is good) and evenly distribute the meat sauce in the peppers until they are all full, then fill the baking dish with the remainder. Place in the middle of the oven (not the top - peppers can burn quite quickly) and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.

Tuna Stuffed Peppers
These are definitely best served with brown rice as a main meal, or salad for a lighter lunch.
For 4 people:
4 large red/yellow bell peppers, deseeded and boiled as above
2 tins drained tuna (personally I don't like tuna in oil but this is a personal preference)
1 small chilli pepper, finely chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin sweetcorn
1 lemon, juiced
Paprika to season
Rocket leaves 

Fry the chilli until softened and add the mushrooms. Once mushrooms are browned, add the tuna and half the lemon juice. Fry for a couple of minutes, add the chopped tomatoes, then the sweetcorn, followed by the paprika. Cook on the hob for about five minutes. Stuff peppers with tuna and rocket evenly in a baking dish (there shouldn't be remainder this time) and bake for 10-15 minutes. When baked, squeeze the remaining lemon juice on the peppers just before serving.

When making this dish for one (*sobsob*), I use half a tin of tuna, some cherry tomatoes and a tablespoon of passata/tomato juice to replace the full tin of chopped tomatoes and reduce the other ingredients accordingly. Feel free to omit the rocket leaves, I know not everyone likes them.

Let us know how it goes and what variations you like to make! Enjoy!

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