Stuffed Peppers

Here’s my mama’s recipe for stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

Medium-large green bell peppers
Ground pork
Instant white or brown rice
Salt
Pepper
1-2 large cans of tomato sauce

Preparation:

1. Using a pairing knife, cut a circle around the stem of a bell pepper in order to remove the stem and central stalk with seeds. Once removed, use a spoon to scrape out all seeds and spines inside the pepper. Rinse under cold water then set aside to dry.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine ground pork, rice, salt, and pepper. I don’t use exact measurements, I mix to sight. The ratio of ground pork and rice to peppers depends on how many peppers you wish to prepare and how large they are. 4-5 medium peppers needs approximately 3 pounds of pork, give or take. The denser you pack the peppers the longer it will take for them to cook through, so keep that in mind as you set up your ratios. Mix your pork mixture by hand. Yes, it’s messy, but you will get a more evenly combined mixture without pockets of unmixed pork or rice.

3. Once your pork mixture is evenly and fully mixed, spoon it into the prepared peppers. Again, try not to over pack. The denser your peppers the longer they will take to cook through and you run the risk of undercooked pork (highly unhealthy). Once you’ve filled all your peppers, place them on the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed stock pot. A cast iron dutch oven works just as well (Le Creuset or Staub). What ever kind of pot you choose must have a lid though. Do not stack the peppers. Keep them in a single layer even if that means cooking in multiple pots or in batches. Cover the peppers with tomato sauce. I generally use one 29-oz can of tomato sauce per 4 peppers. I like a good ratio of sauce to pepper. Feel free to play with the ratio if you’d like. But keep in mind that the hearty tomato sauce is key to a good stuffed pepper. Add water to the pan (I add it too the sides so as not to wash off the tomato sauce from the tops of the peppers) till the “sauce” level reaches the tops of the peppers. Do not fully submerge the peppers! They will begin to float and can flip onto their sides while cooking leading to uneven cooking.

4. Cook covered on medium-high heat till the pork is fully cooked through (no pink coloration left). Thorough cooking is essential. Consuming uncooked or under cooked pork is highly unhealthy and can make you sick.

I don’t like to eat the peppers, but that’s just me. I cut the pepper off the cooked pork filling, dice the pork, and serve with a generous amount of the tomato sauce/broth that the peppers were cooked in.

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