When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than some good old-fashioned comfort food to warm you up from the inside out.
Everyone has probably eaten classic stuffed bell peppers, filled with ground beef, tomato sauce, rice and topped with cheese. While delicious, there is more than one way to make this nostalgic dish.
The following version was inspired by the flavors of Spain and Latin America. Golden raisins, pimento- stuffed olives as well as oregano and several spices make this traditional dish, any but traditional.
There is no cheese in this recipe. Instead, the peppers are topped with a slightly sweet tomato sauce that has just the slightest hint of heat from cayenne.
If you can’ find dried Mexican oregano, regular dried oregano will work just fine. The Mexican variety is somewhat stronger and works quite well in spicy dishes.
Colorful Stuffed Peppers with Smoked Paprika and Raisins
- 6 bell peppers
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped, pimento-stuffed olives
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 11x7 pan.
Cut the tops of peppers; scoop out seeds; reserve and chop the tops.
Partially fill a Dutch oven with water. Arrange the peppers in water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Use tong to remove peppers. Drain on paper towels while preparing the filling.
In a large skillet, brown the ground over medium-high heat. When the meat is almost done, add the onion and reserved, chopped peppers. Continue cooking until onion is translucent and peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or so until mixture has thickened and very little moisture remains.
Stir in the raisins, olives and rice.
Arrange the peppers in the prepared pan. Divide the meat mixture equally between them.
In a small bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, brown sugar and cayenne. Top each pepper with some of the sauce.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until peppers are heated through.
Makes 6 servings