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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stuffed Peppers-a la Jesse

     A la Jesse? Yes, number 2 son had stuffed peppers while he was away in Florida with a friend and when he returned he asked me why I had never made them.
     Well, to start with, I am not a big fan of cooked peppers, and not a fan of tomatoes, so, right there it is 0 for 2. So he tells me his friend makes stuffed peppers with Sloppy Joe sauce and not just tomatoes and he just loved it. Hmmm...sloppy Joe sauce? That did not sound all that bad, Sloppy Joe sauce is sweeter than just tomatoes, so maybe that would be better....hmmmm.
   Last week his father and he discussed stuffed peppers and conspired to have everything on hand to make them, or should I say, have me make them. They broke the news to me that they wanted stuffed peppers, and lookey-here- it just so happens all of the ingredients are on hand...I wonder how that happened? Well, no nevermind.
      I have recently adopted a few more shortcuts and in this case Zatarains Spanish rice is one of those shortcuts. Follow the directions on the box--One box is sufficient, and I do not chop up the diced tomatoes, I leave them chunky.  Remember to follow the directions on the box to the "T". 
       While the rice is steaming I clean out the peppers: Slice about a one inch slice across the stem side of the pepper and gently left out the core. Pull the membranes and seeds out. From the sliced off piece cut away as much of the pepper as you can, dice it up to whatever size you like and discard the seeds and the membranes. Repeat with all the peppers; I used 6 large green peppers.
     Dice a medium onion and sweat it in 1 tablespoon of either olive or vegetable oil, let your own preference rule here. I like to really sweeten up the onions, so I let them caramelize a bit, and then toss in the reserved diced peppers-- there won't be a lot of pepper, but whatever you have helps to flavor the mix. Push the onion and peppers over to one side of the skillet and add 1-1/2 lbs of ground bottom round (about 88%--or 90%--if you can afford it). Any lesser-quality meat can make the dish rather greasy, and if your digestive system can handle that, well, go right ahead, but I seem to have to keep the antacid tablets handy if I do that!
   Brown the beef (okay you may substitute ground turkey or chicken or veal or pork, but that is your decision). Drain as much of the excess fat as you can--again you don't want this to come back and bite you. Add the cooked Spanish rice into the skillet and mix everything up.
Add 1/4 cup of Manwich sauce and about 2 tablespoons of hot water.



     Spray the inside of a large crock-pot (6 quart). Stuff the peppers with meat/rice mixture and place them in the crock pot. I usually have to double-decker 2 of the peppers, just make sure the top will close. If not, press down ever so gently to get the top to close. Pour the remainder of the Manwich sauce over the peppers in the crock-pot, add 1/4 cup of water--oh, and if you have too much filling for the peppers, just add it to the crock-pot around the peppers. Close the top and cook on low for abut 6 hours. I cooked it on low for 4 hours then lowered it to "keep warm" and it sat in that state for about 4 more hours--they were not overdone, there was plenty of juicy goodness to pour over the peppers on the plates.

     Can you say A-W-E-S-O-M-E???
Okay, now it is your turn. Send me a recipe with shortcuts!

Until next time, enjoy!

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