Friday, March 4, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

Now that the weather's starting to warm up, I'm trying to eat as much comfort food as possible. I often use any excuse to indulge my culinary wants. So I made a childhood favourite of stuff bell peppers.

Stuffed bell peppers are like little contained presents that unwrap and give way to the most delicious filling! I love the sweet tender pepper that is packed with the a meaty rice filling. I also roast a whole garlic and add a sweet clove to each pepper. I reserve the garlic olive oil for a final drizzle before serving.. so comforting. I don't use green peppers for this as they're not as sweet but feel free to use it if you like them! 

6 bell peppers
1/2 cup onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic minced
1 whole head of garlic
1 lb ground beef
1.5 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups spinach
2 cups cooked long grain rice or any rice you like 
1 can whole tomatoes 
1 cup grated parm cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut the tops off the pepper and discard the seeds, set aside.
Preheat oven to 375. Cut a half inch from the top of a whole garlic and place in a sheet of tinfoil large enough to completely envelope the garlic. Pour extra virgin olive oil on top of the garlic and seal tightly. Pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove, let cool and pop each clove out. Reserve the oil.

In a large saucepan heat vegetable oil and add the onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the beef and increase the heat to medium high. Break the beef apart with a cooking spoon so there aren't huge chunks. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and the Italian seasoning.  Carry on cooking until the meat is nice and dark brown.
Carefully discard as much of the excess oil from the meat as possible.

Add the whole tomatoes- breaking them apart with your hands and add their juices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer for about ten minutes.  If it starts getting dry add some water about 1/4 cup. Add the rice, spinach and parm cheese. Combine all the ingredients so that they're well incorporated. 

Stuff the peppers half way and place a clove in the center. Finish stuffing. Place the peppers in a pan or baking dish that will hold them nicely and bake covered in tinfoil for 45 minutes-1 hour or until the pepper is soft and tender (can be easily pierced with a knife). Serve 1 per person and drizzle with reserved garlic oil!

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