Happy Friday, friends! Can we talk about green peppers for a minute? Because sometimes I forget all about them, and they really deserve a permanent spot in the fridge. Sautéed with onions on tacos, charred on the grill with sea salt and lime, or perhaps at their very best, with sausage on a sandwich, green peppers are a game changer for so many dishes.
In going through my usual recipe testing for these Greek Stuffed Peppers, I started out with red peppers. You can also do this with tomatoes! But the green peppers were by far the star each time. Stuffed with a savory mixture of ground meat, brown rice, spices and tons of fresh herbs, then slowly simmered in a spicy tomato sauce, these peppers are the perfect warm and cozy weekend lunch or dinner. Bonus: it’s a one-pan meal, which is really the only kind of meal you want to make on the weekend, am I right?
- 10 ounces frozen brown rice (I use Trader Joe’s)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- half of a medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic— 3 peeled and minced, 2 peeled and smashed
- 1 pound lean ground beef (or ground meat of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2½ cups vegetable stock, divided
- ¼ cup minced flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup minced fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 4-6 green bell peppers (1 per person)
- salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- Greek yogurt, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Prepare the filling. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven, preheat about two tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion. Sauté until softened, about three minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute.
Move the alliums to one side of the pan. Season the ground meat with salt and set, salty-side-down, onto the empty side of the pan. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, allspice and crushed red pepper (if using). Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat, incorporating the spices as you go. Allow the meat to brown slightly, and then mix with the onions and garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about a minute. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, stir to combine and then remove to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Next, make the tomato sauce. Using the same pan (no need to wash it!), heat another couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering, add the remaining two smashed cloves of garlic. Generously season with salt. Add crushed red pepper to taste. When the garlic starts to sizzle, splash the remaining ½ cup of stock into the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer until ready to use.
Finally, prepare the peppers. Cut the tops off. Remove any white pith and seeds from the inside. Use your hands to rub a thin coating of olive oil on the peppers and tops. Lightly season with salt.
Add the rice, parsley and mint to the meat mixture, reserving some of the herbs for garnish. Season with salt & pepper and mix well. Spoon the filling into the peppers. Replace their tops and nestle them into the tomato sauce. Cook, uncovered, in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until the peppers are fork-tender.
To plate, spoon tomato sauce into the bottom of your serving platter or individual bowls. Set the peppers on top, and garnish with the remaining parsley and mint. Serve immediately with Greek yogurt for diners to add as they please.