I love bell peppers. Which is why I am so excited to be growing them in my garden this year. I have red, orange and green ones. The green bell pepper plant has at least a dozen bells hanging, while the red and orange ones only have 2-3 bells hanging. This may explain the price difference in the grocery stores.
My mom never really cooked much while I was growing up, but one thing she made that my dad loved was stuffed bell peppers. She used to use the green ones as they were more economical and her filling was more like meat loaf. So here’s my take on Mom’s recipe. And of course, I’ve thrown an ethnic twist into it.
Also, if the contents to this meat filling sound familiar… it’s because I used the same filling here as I did for Big Daddy’s (& Little Debbie’s) Spicy Beef Patties. If you’re making patties one night – make extra filling and freeze it for a quick Stuffed Bell Pepper dinner another night!
2-4 med red bell peppers
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic or garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of African Hot Pepper (you can use dry Chipotle pepper if you can’t find the African Hot Pepper-which I found at the International Market in downtown Nashville)
2 teaspoons curry powder – divided
1 jalapeño, finely diced (include seeds for extra heat)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
Preparation & Ready to Cook
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sauté meat over medium heat, adding garlic, onions, paprika, thyme, 1 tsp curry powder, black pepper, African Hot Pepper and salt. Stir together, and then add the diced jalapeño. Be sure to mix thoroughly so you don’t get “hot spots” from all the spicy peppers. Remove from the heat, adding the bread crumbs and the beef broth, stirring well to combine.
Cut the tops of the bell peppers off and carefully remove seeds and spine inside peppers. Fill each pepper, packing the meat firmly until it rises above the top a 1/2 inch or so. Be sure to pack it firmly so later when you are cutting open your pepper, the meat will not all crumble apart. Place peppers standing up on a baking sheet. I use parchment paper to line baking sheets. This keeps your peppers from burning or sliding for the natural oils during baking.
Bake on middle rack for 20 minutes or until peppers are tender and you can see the skin start to wrinkle. Remove tray and let cool 5 minutes. Crumble goat cheese on top of meat and serve!
The Perfect Bite
I personally like to take a knife and slice the pepper into sections so that I can get a bite of pepper, meat filling and goat cheese together. But you may like to eat the filling out of the pepper like a bowl. You create your own perfect bite and enjoy!
The Perfect Pairing
If you use large peppers one can be a meal in itself. But if you use smaller peppers you may want to add a little white rice on the side. Cooking your rice in coconut milk and butter to keep the Caribbean flavors going! And you can always add some spiced mango when in season. As for beverages – you may have already guessed it. A perfect pairing with this Jamaican favorite is an ice cold bottle of Red Stripe beer – also a Jamaican favorite.
Did You Know?
Bell peppers with 2-3 lobes are sweeter to eat raw and 4 lobed bells are better cooked. Brightly colored bell peppers, whether green, red, orange or yellow, are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. To start, peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), two very powerful antioxidants. Read more here.