Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying something different: Stuffed Bell Peppers

How many of us go from day to day, week to week basically eating a variation of the same thing every supper? Some sort of meat (say, a steak, chicken breast, pork chops, etc.) with potatoes/noodles/rice and some veggies (to fulfill the daily vegetable requirement)... To break this routine, we turn to - what else? - take out/delivery of pizza, Chinese, shawarma, etc. And most of us would agree that it is a fine choice, right?! Only the latter option can be expensive if you order from, say, Boston Pizza (I paid $50 last time!)... Also now that I have a baby, I want to have a fresh start, so to speak. I grew up on homemade meals. Every day for 16.5 years (with occasional lunches at a school cafeteria). And I LOVED IT!!! Endless variety of mom's and grandma's and aunt Sveta's soups, salads, entrees, pastries... Aaah, just thinking about that wholesome homemade Russian cuisine makes my mouth watery :) The beauty of all of our recipes is that they rarely, very rarely, call for some brand name of this or that, or some weird herb that, lets admit, most of us never heard of before...

So let me share it with you! I'll try to be as descriptive as possible to encourage duplication :)))
 Let's start with something I made for supper last night - it is a dish enjoyed by people of many nations around the world, but a staple in Russian cuisine (this particular variation is actually Russian-Bulgarian).

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Bon App├ętit!

* Bell peppers - used 4 large ones
(The best ones are the longer sweet peppers and I chose different colour, just for fun. The actual quantity would depend on the size of your pot and how much meat you get)

* Ground meat - used about 800g
(Whatever you got! A combination of any 2 usually works best rather than just beef by itself, it's boring and kinda dry. I used chicken + beef, one-to-one)

* Cooked rice - used about 200g
(I used white "Minute Rice" mainly because I wanted it to be ready quickly, but for those of you health-nuts, ANY other rice would do if you have a patience to wait for it to cook)

* Carrots - used about 200g
* Onions - used about 200g
* Sour cream - used about 150g of 5%  
(non-fat is just too watery for my taste)

*  Tomato paste or ketchup - used 150g
(I used 1 small can of Hunt's tomato paste with herbs)

* Salt & pepper
* Cooking oil

 Alright, this is how I approached this dish

1. Chop the onions as fine as you like - the onions I chose were soooo eye-stingy for some reason that I just chopped it whatever way and in the end it didn't matter, so no need for perfection here.

 2. Grate carrots on the small side of the grater; or, if you have a food processor, finely chop the carrots.
(I suggest a few large carrots rather than what I had - lots of small ones, which made this step longer and way more painful than it should have been...)

 3. Fry up half of the onions in oil on the skillet until golden; add half of the carrot mass and cook some more, mixing constantly.

4. In a bowl, mix the ground meat with rice; then add the fried up onions + carrots.

  5. Add salt and pepper and mix all of the ingredients well, until uniform.

  6. Wash your peppers, cut off the top part and clear out the seeds. Fill the peppers with the meat mix.
(I suggest checking how many peppers will fit into your pot, standing up, before cutting and filling them.)

 My used amounts - filled 4 large peppers and only had a tiny amount left! (I kind of eyeball the amounts when I cook)

 7. Almost there! Next mix the second half of the onions and carrots in the big pot; mix sour cream with tomato paste/ketchup and add this mixture to the onions + carrots. Spread evenly on the bottom of the pot.

 8. Stand the stuffed peppers in the pot and pour water to cover the peppers half way. Cover the lid and cook on medium for about 40 minutes (there is no need to check on them or to mix anything).
(I cooked mine for about 55 min because my peppers were quite large, so I wanted to make sure that the meat cooked through.)
 9. Voila! You can serve the peppers with a sour cream blob on top and the some sauce that they were cooked in.

1 comment:

  1. This looks so yummy! I will be making it for dinner. I found you on pinterest. I love that the sauce combines tomato paste and sourcream. YUM!