Auntie Ruthie’s Stuffed Peppers
My first time making stuffed peppers was a failure. I was just starting to learn to cook, and it was around the time that I made many other failed cooking attempts. I thought I was destined for a lifetime of takeout. In the case of stuffed peppers the rice was crunchy, the pepper undercooked, and the flavor mundane.
It has taken me a long time to master Middle Eastern cooking, and I still haven’t, but I try hard. I finally learned to make tasty vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, so it is about time I learned to make stuffed peppers. One night this week as I tossed and turned in bed I suddenly woke up with a craving for my auntie Ruthie’s stuffed peppers. I knew I must make them that exact day, but I needed to do a bit of research.
As soon as PB left for work I rushed over to my cookbook cabinet and whipped out the cookbook my cousin Raz gave me. It is quite an old cookbook and the directions aren’t clear so I spent the next couple of hours during the work day on the phone with Raz and my auntie Ruthie getting every detail written down. That is how I learn to cook. I study, I ask a lot of questions, and then I trust my instincts.
I always assumed stuffed peppers took a long time to make, but in reality this dinner came together faster than most of our real dinners, especially since the peppers can basically be left alone once on the stove top. It is a one pot meal so after putting the pot on the stove I simply had to make a salad and dinner was done. I used ground lamb because that’s what auntie Ruthie uses, but she said you can use other types of ground meat if you prefer. Now that I learned how to properly make them I am excited to experiment with vegetarian options.
I love dishes that taste even better reheated the next day, and this is no exception. If there is one tip I can share is to not be afraid of all the liquid in the pot- even with all the sauce and water I added we still have very little sauce left for the last 2 peppers! But that could also be because PB kept drinking the sauce out of a mug….
Auntie Ruthie’s Stuffed Peppers
Makes 10 peppers
10 small to medium peppers in any colors you like (I chose red and green)
1.5 cups white rice
1 cup ground lamb
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs ground pepper
1 tbs of assorted spices
2 26 oz boxes of Pomi` strained tomatoes*
1. Boil a pot of water. Meanwhile, wash and core your peppers. I just cut the tops off and pull out all the seeds and white core pieces.
2. Rinse the rice and put in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over it to cover. Let sit 10 minutes and drain.
3. Add the ground meat, salt, pepper, and spices of your choice and use your hands to combine.
4. Stuff each pepper with the raw meat and rice mixture until about 3/4 full. Place in a large pot in layers. I needed 2 layers for 10 peppers.
5. Pour the strained tomatoes over the peppers. Then pour enough boiling water so that the liquid covers the peppers up to the top of the highest pepper.
6. Cover and place over medium high heat for 30 minutes. Check to see if the rice is done (I took a small forkful out of one pepper). If not continue cooking until done. Total cooking time shouldn’t take longer than 40 minutes. Serve in a bowl and pour some sauce over the top. If you like, you may also add a bit of grated parmigiano reggiano. Enjoy!
*You can use any type of strained tomatoes you like, but I grew up with Pomi` so that is what I use.
P.S. PB has seemingly disappeared off the planet. Maybe we can give him a little encouragement to share some of his latest culinary creations?! I am still awaiting the meatball recipe he promised!
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