Last week, I was feeling a little nostalgic about my dad’s many business trips when I was growing up. You see, my dad traveled quite a bit for work. He’s also a touch picky when it comes to his food preferences. This meant that, when he went out of town, my mother and I got to make and consume all the things we enjoyed that my dad wouldn’t touch.
Stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbages, split pea soup – you name it. If it was a weird color, smelled a little odd or contained any sort of ethnic flavoring that wasn’t oregano, we got to eat it when dad left town.
For about a month now, I’ve had the strangest craving for stuffed peppers. The stuffed peppers of my childhood were Stouffer’s Brand and probably filled with all sorts of preservatives/carcinogens/high fructose corn syrup. I’m trying to avoid that sort of stuff, so the only way to quell my craving was to make them from scratch.
Stuffed Peppers – Probably More Labor Intensive than You Prefer
A word of warning to anyone who may have stumbled across this post looking for a fast and easy weeknight meal: this isn’t an inherently quick process. However, if you do a few things in advance, you could probably make it less laborious.
- Bell peppers (I like red bell peppers, because I think green bell peppers ruin happiness and make angels cry.)
- 1 pound sausage
- 1 cup raw white rice
- 1 onion
- 1 pint mushrooms
- 2 eggs
- 3 cans diced tomatoes and their juices
- Minced garlic
- Worcestershire sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to season*
Make Yourself Some Peppers!
Making up a batch of stuffed peppers isn’t difficult, it just requires multiple time-consuming steps. Here they are, in the order in which I completed them!
- Cook your rice by whatever method you use to cook rice. I do it on the stove top because I’m old school and also because I know what they do to minute rice to make it cook so fast.
- When the rice is done cooking, put in in a bowl somewhere on your counter.
- Brown the sausage over medium-high heat. You may also want to hit it with some Worcestershire and salt and pepper.
- Drain the browned sausage (reserving the grease) and put it in the bowl with the rice.
- Use the sausage drippings to sweat and brown the garlic and onions. Add some balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire while you’re doing it. Flavorless food is sad food.
- When the onions are almost down, add your pint of mushrooms (chopped). You’ll want to cook the mushrooms until they lose quite a bit of their water.
- Add the cooked vegetation to the bowl with the rice and the sausage.
- Crack two eggs over the bowl and stir the mixture thoroughly.
- If you’re not squeamish about a little bit of raw egg, taste your filling to make sure that it is seasoned well. If you are squeamish, pray.
- Stuff the peppers with the filling and squash all the filled peppers into a loaf pan or casserole dish.
- Pour as many cans of diced tomatoes as it takes to come almost to the top of the pepper into the pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes.
Like I said…It’s not rocket science, but it’s not quick either.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind on your Pepper Stuffing Odyssey
I am convinced that there are a few things that you can do that will make this process easier/less time-consuming/healthier. Mind you, I haven’t tried any of them, but here’s a few ideas:
- You can make the filling a day or so in advance and then just stuff the peppers and throw them in the oven on the night that you want to eat.
- You could make this with turkey sausage to cut fat/all the other bad stuff in pork sausage.
- You could omit the meat entirely and add more vegetables.
- You could free the whole thing (uncooked) and save it for a rainy day. (I actually did that with half of the batch, although I haven’t cooked it yet. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.)