In my mind stuffed peppers are like meatloaf in a pepper cup. The old standby is a meat mixture in a green bell pepper with a tomato sauce. Alternatively, you can choose another pepper of your liking and even a completely alternative filling, such as jalapeño stuffed with tuna or chorizo stuffed Hatch green chilis. I guess whether you call them poppers or stuffed peppers depends on the size of the pepper.
Today, I’m going to stay on the traditional side with the exception of roasting the peppers a little before stuffing. If you want, you can add egg and bread crumbs to bind your meat mixture, but I usually omit them in a nod to lower carbs.
Ground chuck (or Italian sausage or a mixture)
Italian Seasoning (to taste)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Tomato sauce (your choice: favorite commercial sauce or below)
Green pepper tops
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder or minced garlic
Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for topping
Roast peppers on the grill or over the flame on your gas stove till the peppers are softened and have some grill marks. Place into a plastic bag and let steam and soften for about 15 minutes. Don’t over cook the peppers. They should still be fairly firm since they will cook more after they are stuffed.
While the peppers are cooling, season the ground chuck to taste. Add a little tomato sauce if desired.
Remove the tops and seeds from the peppers, split in half and stuff with the seasoned meat mixture being careful not to split the pepper any more (Some of the meat mixture will try to spill out the end). You can also use one pepper per serving if desired.
Sauté diced onions and minced green pepper tops till the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft. Add diced tomatoes and continue cooking till the tomatoes are almost cooked.
Season to taste and continue cooking till the tomatoes are completely cooked. You can process the sauce with a immersion blender till smooth or keep the sauce rustic. I chose to keep it rustic.
Fill each pepper half with meat mixture, top with tomato sauce and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the top.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, then top with mozzarella cheese and return to the oven till the peppers reach 150F and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
These were a really nice change for a summer evening.
If you are in a hurry you can cook the peppers till they are almost done, then make the fillling by cooking the seasoned meat and adding enough sauce to make it easy to fill the mixture into the peppers. Top with more sauce and cheese. Melt the cheese under the broiler and you have a dinner of stuffed peppers in under 15 minutes!
Since I was serving pepper halves, I cut the stem and seeds out as closely as possible to preserve a lip on the end of the pepper. This left no pepper top to mince, so I used a little frozen green pepper to mince into the sauce.