SO this happened… I have a recipe I remember from my youth, and was included in the binder of random recipes that my folks gave me when I moved out, but no one seems to remember it now. Such is their loss. Part of me wants to say “Mine, all mine! MUAHAHAHA,” but I’m a nice guy, so I’ll share it with you.
Stuffed peppers are one of those ideal meals, especially if you’re a bachelor. There’s meat, cheese, veg, and starch all rolled up into an edible bowl of yumminess. On top of that, you can make more than you need and eat it later and it will be just as awesome as if it were fresh!
To start, start a large pot of water to boil, and cut the peppers lengthwise – through the stem – and wash the seeds out and de-vein them (basically rip out the white bits) and remove the stem part. You can wander off for a while while you wait for the water to boil, but it would also be a good time to chop up the onion fairly finely, and do the same with the garlic. Then wander off, but avoid shiny things.
When the water finally boils, put in the peppers and let them cook for about three minutes – just to soften them up a bit and prepare them for the coming onslaught. At the same time, get the ground beef, garlic, and onions going in a large skillet, and cook them until the meat is brown. Remove the peppers and drain when they plead submission and set aside, preferably on a cookie sheet.
Right about now would be a really good time to turn on the oven to 400F.
When the ground beef is done, drain return to the stove at a lower heat. Add in the tomato soup and seasonings – 2tbsp chili powder, 1tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper – and simmer (covered) for 10 minutes or so. Lower the heat a tad more and add the cheese, stirring until melted and mixed uniformly. Do the same with the rice – okay, the rice won’t melt, but it can be stirred in evenly.
And….decision time. Put on your El Presidente hat and decide how hungry everyone is. As a general rule, eight green peppers will feed eight people and… you know what? You do the math. Take two cookie sheets (or pizza sheets, or whatever) and divide up the peppers – the now’s and the later’s. Spoon the filling – you know, that glop you just made – into all the peppers, filling them to the top as much as possible, and -wait for it- now comes the trick. Only put what you’re going to eat in the oven, and leave the other sheet on the counter to cool.
30-or-so minutes later (yes, you can wander off again, but bring the timer with you), the peppers will be nicely wilt-y and the top of the filling will be browned, take them out, let them cool for a few, and dig in.
Oh, and don’t forget to cover the remaining pepper halves with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. A day or so later you can put them in a bag and reclaim the sheet.
*Note: to cook the leftovers, partially thaw (i.e., leave the frozen ones on the counter for an hour or three) and bake at 400F for somewhere between 30-45 minutes, depending on how frozen they are
- 8 green peppers
- 1lb ground beef
- 1 onion (medium-to-large)
- 3 cloves garlic
- chili powder
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup
- 3 cups cheddar cheese
- 1-1/2 cups cooked rice