Monday, 21 September 2015

Stuffed Bell Peppers

 After receiving quite a lot of positive feedback after day 1 I am very excited to continue writing new things. Different people have advised me on what they want to see around here and I will be sure to include all or at least most suggestions. I have been asked for the exotic and for the traditional. Both is exactly what I want to do around here. The exotic needs to be heard of and the traditional revamped for the 21st century! However, since all of the feedback came either from Facebook (my official page) or privately, I would like to encourage everybody to comment on the blog too.
The last recipe was pretty unconventional, so I have decided for a classic, back-to-basics recipe from my mom, who really is a great cook. Today, I made stuffed bell peppers for the first time and my mind was blown away. This is a traditional Serbian dish that almost everyone in Serbia eats regularly and I suppose everyone’s mom makes them in a slightly different manner. When I was a kid all of these stuffed vegetable recipes seemed extremely complicated and I truly was amazed by anyone who made them. Turns out, with a simple recipe, they are really tasty and really easy to make. Man, was I wrong! It took me less than 20 minutes in preparation and the rest of the work was practically done by the oven. Did I mention that ovens with beepers that tell you the cooking time is up are one of my favourite modern inventions?
My advice for this recipe is making your peppers as colourful as possible, have a celebration of colours in your dish!

Whenever I use minced meat, I choose beef, just because it is a personal favourite and I always see the butcher mince it right in front of me which is a big plus when it comes to quality. This recipe also mentions one peeled tomato in the stuffing. My advice is not to peel the tomato, but rather cut it in half and then grate each side separately; leaving you with leftover skin you can then throw away.
Another thing I would like to tell you is a matter of measurements. Since I am in Europe I use the metric system, which is most familiar to me. However, I try to use glasses, cups (not the measurement, the ones you have coffee from) and mugs for measurements as often as I can.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Difficulty: Medium
Time: 1h 30min

6 bell peppers
500g minced beef
2 onions
1 coffee cup full parboiled rice
1 peeled and grated fresh tomato
1 teaspoon paprika

The Stuffing
Sauté the onions for 3 minutes in little oil in a large pot and add the minced meat. When it starts to get some colour add the rice and keep on the heat for another 3 minutes. Combine the tomato with the stuffing and season with paprika and a generous amount of salt and pepper. It is very important to season your food well, so while at it, try your dish to see if it works for you.

The Bell Peppers
Create an opening in your pepper large enough for you to get all the seeds out, but keeping the top attached to the body (this is a matter of aesthetics, but also assures your stuffing won’t fall out of the pepper while cooking).
Once you have cleaned your peppers, fill them with the stuffing and place them back in the pot (this is why you needed a large one to begin with). You already have an oiled and seasoned pot from the stuffing, so using the same pot only adds to the taste. Add enough water to the pot to cover about half of the height of the peppers; cover the pot and cook on the stove at a medium to low heat (keep it sizzling, but not boiling heavily) for 20 minutes. Turn your oven on to heat at 200°C (390 °F).
Before placing the pot in the oven, uncover it. Once in the oven, let the peppers cook for another 45 minutes.

* Serving suggestion: Once you remove the cover from a bell pepper add some crème fraîche to your plate. It gives a nice fresh feel to the dish.

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