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Stuffed bell peppers with minced meat and rice
Stuffed peppers is a very tasty meal, much loved in the Mediterranean basin, from France to Lebanon and it is not that difficult to prepare. I used peppers but the same recipe can also be done with tomatoes and zucchinis as well.
- 4-5 bell peppers
- 1 lbs (½ kg) minced meat
- 2 onions
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tomatoes (or 1 tomato and some diced tomatoes)
- 3-4 ounces of rice (or simply a handful)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, oregano (and your favorite spices)
- 1-2 table spoons of vegetable or beef broth (optional)
Preparing the peppers
Cut the top parts of the peppers and clean the seeds inside. Try not to rip the peppers apart, you will fill them with the minced meat mixture. Wash the peppers and put them aside.
Preparing the stuffing mix
Cut 2 onions in small cubes. Crush the garlic cloves. Pour one or two table spoons of olive oil in a pan, cook the onions and garlic on medium heat until the onions are pink, add a cup of diced tomatoes, a handful of rice and cover, let cook for a bit then add the minced meat, salt, pepper and oregano. Continue cooking the mixture covered, till all the minced meat turns to brown.
Stuffing and cooking the peppers
Stuff your peppers with the mix you just cooked, be careful it is still hot. Cut the sides of a tomato to seal the opening on the top of each pepper. Boil 2-3 cups of water and add 1 table spoon of tomato paste and vegetable broth (optional), with a bit of salt and pepper as well. Place the peppers in a deep pot, pour a bit of more olive oil on the peppers and add the water-paste-broth mix to the pot, filling it only to half the height of peppers. Cover the pot and cook on medium-low heat until the peppers and the tomato caps are well cooked. Try not to open the cover to have a sneak peek, as this will let the accumulated water vapour to escape.
Serve this plate with plain yogurt on top, and dip fresh bread in the sauce. Do not eat your fingers ;)
Bonus: How to keep unused tomato paste fresh?
Pour some olive oil to cover the paste completely, about one finger depth. Olive oil will prevent contact with air and keep it mold-free for a longer period. Keep it in the refrigerator.