Stuffed Peppers – stuffed green peppers to be exact – are one of those comfort food recipes that will forever remind me of my grandma. This is one of my favorite dishes of hers (and one of her favorite dishes in general), and she often will tell me a stories about times I requested that she make them when I was little. A few years ago I called her to ask for the recipe, and instead of giving me one, she said that I should find my own, any old recipe would do. I got the feeling that she had been cooking from memory for so long, that the genesis of her stuffed pepper recipe was still very fluid. Even still, there are basic components – she always uses large green bell peppers, carefully selected, ground beef, and rice. Whatever her reasons for not divulging her recipe, it was very liberating in a way to have her suggest I try my own recipe. I can’t really say she passed this recipe down, but she did pass down something even more important – a love of stuffed peppers which will always remind me of her, and of how much she loves me.
Last week, I was thinking of my grandma and back on our recent visit just after new years, and decided to try my own iteration of this recipe. I didn’t use a written recipe, I made up my own, just as she had advised.
Green Stuffed Peppers
6 large green bell pappers
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of lean ground turkey
1 large onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste
8.5 oz bag of brown instant rice (steam in microwave kind)
1 large can (28 oz) tomato sauce
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
shredded cheese – mozzerella, parmesan, monterey jack – whatever you like
Preheat oven to 400. Core and rinse peppers, removing tops and seeds inside.In a large pot of briskly boiling water, blanche the peppers (3 at a time) for 5-6 minutes, removing with a large slotted spoon, and draining. Place blanches peppers in a 9×13 baking or casserole dish. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to med high and add olive oil. After pan is warm, add ground turkey and stir until all turkey is cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onions and garlic, stirring until onions are soft. Add white pepper, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in small can of tomato sauce, cook for 1 more minute. Heat rice in the microwave. Remove skillet from the heat, and stir the rice into the turkey mixture. Spoon the turkey/rice mixture into the blanched peppers, and surround and top with the tomato sauce (large can). Cover with tinfoil (or lid of it’s a casserole dish) and bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, bake for 5 more minutes, then enjoy!