Today was the first day at my new job as a school tutor. It went pretty well, although it was overwhelming at times. It’s been awhile since I had a job, and I approached this new opportunity with enthusiasm, but also with fear. What if I’m going to fail? What if my gap in employment will get the best of me? My usual fear of failure set in, and I felt insecure, vulnerable, and out of place. I hope I’ll be able to conquer my fears soon, since I really want to do a good job as a tutor. I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but my new boss is the one who gave me a chance when many others wouldn’t – so I don’t want to disappoint her, and I don’t want to disappoint myself.
I got back home, had a late lunch, and realized I still hadn’t posted the recipe for meat stuffed peppers (I posted the vegetarian version a couple of weeks ago). As with its vegetarian counterpart, this dish benefits from the inclusion of homemade vegetable sauce, which gives it body and big, fresh, healthy flavors. Although they are stuffed with meat, the peppers are light thanks to the sharp assertiveness of the tomatoes in the sauce, while the chopped peppers add depth and emphasize the unique flavor of this vegetable. (As you may know by now, pepper is one of my favorite vegetables ever.)
7 red bell peppers
1lb ground beef
1lb ground pork
1/2 cup white rice
2 cups homemade vegetable sauce
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsp parsley flakes (you can, of course, use fresh parsley – I didn’t have any, so I had to rely on the parsley flakes I had in the pantry)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Sour cream (optional)
Mix the onion with the 2 types of ground meat, the rice, parsley flakes, salt and pepper. The mixture has to be homogeneous, as in the picture below:
Wash the peppers and dry them with a paper towel. Cut off the tops and core the peppers, making sure all seeds are removed. Stuff the peppers about 3/4 full with the meat mixture.
Put the peppers in a deep and wide pan.
I just love their vibrant color!
If you don’t have any vegetable sauce in the fridge, now is the time to make some. As with the vegetarian version of this dish, I followed my veggie sauce recipe to the letter, with one exception: I did not use garlic.
Put the pan with the peppers on the stove top. Add warm water just enough to cover 3/4 of the peppers. Bring to simmer and let it cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, add the vegetable sauce. Using a spoon, spread it evenly across the pan.
After adding the sauce, let the peppers cook for a further 30 minutes. Add extra warm water when/if necessary – you want the peppers to have enough liquid to cook in their entirety (usually I like to have the peppers 3/4 covered with sauce at all times).
Serve the peppers with sauce from the pan. Add chopped fresh parsley for decoration (if you have any available).
Some of you may wonder why I did not use vegetable oil in this dish. I just don’t think there’s any need for it since we already have vegetable oil in the veggie sauce – plus, the meat has fat in it as well. Same thing with the salt: there is salt in the ground meat, and also in the veggie sauce. Remember: it is always easy to add more salt than to try to fix an oversalted dish.
I like to take the time to savor meat stuffed peppers, and I also like to serve them with a teaspoon or two of sour cream on top. The cream is mild, and as such it’s like the “center stage” where the main actors of this dish (the meat and the veggies) go on to perform.
This is a satisfying dish, which combines meat and veggies to great effect. It’s like a play, whose subtleties leave you lingering for more.