Stuffed Peppers

When I was a little girl my mother used to tell me all about these stuffed peppers she would eat at a nearby restaurant, and because she was so passionate about them, there was no excuse but to recreate them herself in our kitchen. At the time, I didn’t care much for vegetables, let alone peppers and their intense taste, but I did enjoy the filling and used to leave the vessel on the plate for someone else to eat.

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When I went to gather produce on the farm and picked the four peppers I was about to stuff.

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This pepper was way too special to pick. Did  you know that with time, the peppers gain a different color? With the ripening process, they change and become sweeter. That’s why red, yellow and orange peppers are more expensive than the green ones.

Years went by and I grew out of my fussy eating habits, and started to eat veggies like a normal person. Peppers included. Although I did end up visiting the so famous restaurant, for some reason I didn’t care for them much. Maybe I was used to the ones I grew up eating, maybe it was the high expectations that led me to believe they were astonishing delicious, whatever. I just ended up recreating the ones I remembered to taste, eat and love.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 3 cloves of slithered garlic
  • 2 pealed and diced carrots
  • 50 grams chouriço
  • 400 grams minced pork
  • 2 tablespoons tomato pulp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • Pinch of chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 big green peppers

Instructions:

Mince the onions, the garlic, slither the pealed carrots and cut the chouriço also into cubes. Fry the bay leaf and the chouriço in the olive oil, slightly, just till you get that herby savory scent.

Add the onions, then the garlic and the carrots. Retrieve this mix and let the pan heat a little before adding the minced meat. This is an essencial part of the recipe, as you don’t want to stew the meat in the veggie juices, you want to promote a little browning before adding the remaining flavors. Mix in the previously cooked veggies, plus the tomato pulp, water and parsley.

Let the mix set, and cover with plastic wrap. You now have either two options: you choose to stuff the peppers only with the meat, or mix the rice in as well. Keep in mind that if you add the rice it will absorb a lot of moisture, and the meat will taste less juicy than it actually should be. But it’s a matter of preference. I just stuff the peppers with the pork mix, and serve plain rice on the side.

So after stuffing, add sliced onion, olive oil, garlic, as a base of the pan to roast the peppers and make a juicy sauce.

Bake at 170ºC for at least 1 hour covered with foil, then at 190ºC for 20 minutes. This time/temperature barometer I have suggested will depend on how cooked you want your peppers, the longer they are cooked, the tenderer the pepper.

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