This recipe was on my waiting list far too long. As soon as I began blogging I knew I would have to write about stuffed bell peppers that my mom used to make. It’s an authentic Russian recipe, which means the peppers are stuffed with meat. Yes, we Russians are very much a meat loving nation. However, our vegetable dishes are bountiful and ridiculously full of flavour and no one would ever imagine to sit down to just a plate of humungous steak. Variety and moderation is key to any diet in my world.
These peppers are loved by anyone who eats them, the meat filling is mixed with rice and flavoured with herbs and spices in perfect harmony, I tell ya.
- Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
- Onion, chopped-1
- Extra lean ground beef- 1/2 lbs
- Extra lean ground pork-1/2 lbs
- Rice, cooked- 1/2 cup
- Flat leaf parsley, chopped- a bunch
- Salt- 2 tsp.
- Pepper- 1/2 tsp.
- Bell Peppers (any colour but I prefer yellow and red)- 10 medium
- Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream- 1 1/2 cups
- Crushed Tomatoes- 1 1/2 cups
- Smoked Paprika- 1 tsp.
- Salt- 1 tsp.
- Bay leaf- 1-2
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
Cook rice or use leftover rice. If you are cooking 1/2 cup of rice just for this recipe I usually cook it the same way as I do pasta. Bring water to a boil in a pot and add rice to it, cook for 7-10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s not completely soft, it will get there when you are cooking peppers.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan gently saute the chopped onion over medium low heat until softened for 5-7 minutes.
In a large bowl combine beef, pork. onion, rice, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Wash peppers, cut the tops off and removes the cores with seeds and membranes by gently pulling and twisting them out of the peppers.
Stuff peppers with the meat filling. If you have any leftover filling roll it into meat balls. We used to call them “hedgehogs” when I was little because rice starts to poke out when they cook and they really start to resemble tiny hedgehogs. Then stand them up in a casserole dish and put the meatballs (if you have any)on top. Choose a casserole dish where all the peppers can fit while standing up.
Make sauce by mixing creme fraiche or sour cream with crushed tomatoes, then add paprika and 1 tsp. of salt. Pour the sauce over the peppers, add your bay leaf, cover with a lid and put in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until the peppers are soft. One of the best features of this dish is the sauce. After 40 minutes in the oven sour cream based sauce becomes even more delicious through absorbing the flavours of the peppers and the meat. People joke that Russians put sour cream in everything and we really do. Can you blame us?! Wouldn’t you if you hit the jackpot!
If your sour cream separated a bit in the process of cooking don’t worry it will still look just as amazing. Serve your stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes or on their own. I am getting hungry all over again just thinking about them!