This is a great, easy recipe with an intense Mediterranean flavour. I grew up with this dish and I always enjoyed it. My parents have a wonderful vegetable garden and peppers are one of their favourite vegetables to grow. In the summer they pick hundreds of peppers and cook them in every possible way, including stuffed peppers with meat. My mum makes several trays of it and then freezes them for the winter. I usually use beef for the filling but I sometimes mix it with lamb to give an even richer flavour. I also like to use cinnamon and nutmeg in the meat mixture, as it adds an interesting and slightly sweet layer of flavour. Serve with rice or bread - great for Shabbat.
Preparation time: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Serves 4 as main course.
● 4 yellow/orange/red/green bell peppers
● 2 free range eggs
● ½ teaspoon cinnamon
● ½ teaspoon nutmeg
● 400-500g minced beef
● 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
● 1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon/vegetable stock diluted in 2 tbsp of water
● Small bunch of fresh basil
● 700 ml passata tomato
● Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
● Preheat the oven to 190°C.
● Gently beat the eggs together with the cinnamon, the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Then add the minced meat and mix it in. Finally, wet the breadcrumbs in the vegetable stock and add it to the meat. Mix it thoroughly.
● Tip: The vegetable stock will give extra flavour to the meat, but if you do not have any handy you can also simply wet the breadcrumbs in plain warm water instead.
● Cut the peppers in half lengthwise or in three parts, depending on the size of the pepper and if you want to serve larger or smaller pieces of serving.
● Remove the stems and seeds and rinse well. Place the peppers hollow-end-up on an oven dish and sprinkle a little salt inside each pepper.
● Stuff each pepper with the meat mixture, distributing the quantity evenly. If there is extra meat, use it to make small meatballs to place around the peppers.
● Pour the tomato passata around and on top of the stuffed peppers, add the fresh basil, sprinkle some more salt and drizzle with the oil.
● Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil, place it in the oven and leave it to bake for about 30 minutes.
● Remove the aluminium foil and put it back in the oven for at least another hour or until the peppers are tender and shrunk a little and the sauce has condensed. Stir the tomato sauce halfway through.
● Remove from the oven and serve, ideally with some bread or rice, while still hot.