8.4.08

Best ever stuffed peppers


Oh the guilt. Albatross round my neck, dammit! This won´t do. I feel guilty enough about enough things, to have to add a blog to the list. So finally I drag myself to the computer and here I am. I feel I´m fobbing you off with a photo of my cooking notebooks, but that pepper is the illustration I did ten years ago when writing doen this recipe, so at least I´ve done some archival effort.

We had a visit from Pille and K. of Nami-nami.
Not that that´s an excuse. I´m just mentioning it. We had the best four days of food related talk, and of eating and tasting and cooking and sightseeing, and it was wonderful and fun. But the retribution wasn´t long in coming, and I had to work, and so I hung up the apron and lived on toast for the rest of the week. Do you beleive that? No? Well, it´s almost true. I also had a lot of pollen chocolate, and yogurt with sea buckthorn muesli. Perks of having friends in the Baltic, you see.

Anyway, I´m going to post a recipe for the peppers Pille and Kristjan had at my parents´. These peppers are the most wonderful thing ever, and if I haven´t blogged about them before, it´s because I´ve never cooked them before, and it feels a little bit like cheating.
The thing is, these are the special, for-guests-only, best-in-the-world stuffed peppers, and they are only made at home, by Escolástica, when the occasion merits. It´s never entered my mind that I, your humble self, can ever come close to the effect.
However you, labouring under no such a heavy weight of tradition, can have the recipe and go ahead and made these beauties, thereby making friends and influencing people. Here they are.

You need as many red peppers as will comfortably fit the tray in your oven. Here in Spain it´s very usual to find red peppers the size of rubgy balls, and those aren´t very good, since you can only fit four, and one of the beauties of this dish is the ease of portion control. You don´t want the petite Dutch cricket ball type, either. Try to find ones that are the size of a tea mug. Am I making sense? I feel not. Anyway. The perfect type of pepper will have ten or eleven snugly nestling side by side in a standard oven tray.

Ground meat, 600 gr. We like a mixture of beef and pork.
One green pepper, one onion, one 1/2 tin of tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf.
Two cups of rice. At home they use parboiled, and much as it pains me to say it, it´s wonderful in this dish. It´s the only time I don´t mind parboiled rice, but of course sticklers go with any long grain variety that gives you confidence.

Heat the oven to 170ºC

Take your biggest frying pan and fry the mince for a few minutes, until it´s no longer pink. Set aside.

Now make a sofrito, which, as you know, consists of chopping finely your onion, sauteeing it in plenty of olive oil, adding the chopped green pepper, waiting a bit for it to wilt, and then throwing in the tomatoes, bay leaf and garlic (I add a good handful of sugar too). When it has reduced to a fragrant dark pulpy mess, it´s done. You should probably make it salty, as the peppers will be unseasoned.
Now add the meat and the rice, and turn to coat well. You want a homogenous mix, and you want to rice to be nicely coated with all the flavorings and oils.

While the sofrito reduces, you can spend the time cleaning the peppers, which you do by carefully cutting round the stem, and keeping that bit; then cleaning the inside of seeds and that white membrane thing. Be careful and don´t break them.

Now fill them with the mixture. Go easy. They should be filled more than half but less than three quarters, as the juice from the peppers will make the rice swell. Put the stem lids back on.

Coat them with a slick of olive oil, put them on their sides and bake them for an hour. Turn them over (careful now! go easy and use a couple of very wide spoons), and bake for another hour.
At the end, they will be sticky and glossy, charred in places and smelling so good that you will want to eat them all.
Don´t forget to dip your bread in the oily dark goo at the bottom of the tray.

24 comentarios:

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

I can just imagine how much fun you and Pille had cooking together! These peppers sound amazing.

Su-Lin dijo...

This sounds good! But when you say to turn them, do you mean turn them upside down? With the cap on the bottom? Or do I just turn the tray?

Pille dijo...

Muchas, muchas, muchas gracias!!! These were utterly delicious (I mean it. I make stuffed peppers often, yet they never taste as light and delicious!), and I was secretly hoping that you'll share the secret family heirloom recipe soon.
I wish, however, that I'd have some of those Spanish rugby-ball-sized peppers on hand - these were so cool!!

ChichaJo dijo...

This sounds absolutely amazing! Thanks for being so generous with the recipe...will definitely give these a try :)

That sounds like a wonderful four days hanging out!

lobstersquad dijo...

Lydia: it was the best thing, such fun, really!
Su-Lin: upside down. Thanks for the comment, I´ll change it now in the big text so it´s clearer.
Pille: pleasure all ours. And thanks to you I decided to blog the recipe, so thanks!
Chicha-Jo: the hanging out was great, and I hope you like the peppers. they´re really quite something.

Ramona dijo...

I love stuffed peppers. This just might be dinner tonight!

Julie dijo...

Your first photo here! I love the illustrated cooking notebooks, and I love the pepper picture.

I'm saving this recipe for red pepper season which doesn't start here until about August when suddenly they're cheap and plentiful. It's the only time of year I really get to eat my fill of red peppers which are one of my favorite foods.

xps dijo...

Gracias por haberme obedecido, y eso que te dije que no me sacaras a relucir. Qué lejos han llegado los pimientos!!

xps dijo...

Este es mi verdadero comentario, qué buenos son. y me encanta la ilustración y la foto.

robin dijo...

Hey, go have some (non-computerized) fun! Don't worry about us, we'll be here when you come back!

Great recipe, too. Love how you made it so comprehensive.

Mike Czyzewski dijo...

Your artwork is really, really awesome!

Arien dijo...

hey, another maybe stupid question...
when you say green pepper- do you mean one of those small hot things, or a normal huge green pepper?
and do I need to make the rice ready, means- all soft before I fill the peppers, or this happens while baking?
thank you for the lovely recipe, and best regards ;)

elarael dijo...

What is this 'pollen chocolate' you speak of? It sounds v*e*r*y interesting...

lobstersquad dijo...

Ramona: I hope you enjoyed them.
Julie: sometimes, you just got to snap a picture, there´s no other way.
Esco: nada, nada, ya sabes que yo siempre lo que tú digas.
Xps: hombre, no es peasso foto pero sirve.
Robin: computerized is not much fun, you´re right.
Mike: thanks!
Arien: Green pepper is long and thin, but big. We acll them Italian peppers, they´re very thin skinned and don´t have that much meat, either. No heat.
And the rice only has to soak up some oil, it cooks inside the peppers.
Elarael: no idea. Estonian delicacy, very delicious, and apparently healthy, too. You could try asking Pille of Nami-nami.

lobstersquad dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
EB dijo...

Sugar in the sofrito! That's it!!! I've been trying to make a good sofrito and it just didn't taste right. Thank you thank you thank you.

angie dijo...

Hello from an adopted Madrilian. Your drawing is amazing, I love it!
hasta otra :)

Lego y Pulgón dijo...

Genial mezcla de ingredientes. Cuando vuelva a casa dentro de un par de semanas, me tiraré de cabeza al horno para hacerla. Sólo espero que el arroz se comporte como es debido y se HAGA. Es la única parte que me da cierto reparo...

pea & pear dijo...

How on earth can I continue to watch in silence and not leave a comment. Any food blog with a Woody Allen reference gets my vote!!! Gorgeous blog, fantastic name i love it!!!

Shayne dijo...

This looks so good. I make my peppers a little like this but I see some changes that I will have to make. We loved stuffed peppers here and this is a must try. Thank you so much for sharing.

Elle dijo...

Love stuffed peppers. this recipe sounds even better than the one I grew up with. The sofrito is the special thing, and the sugar. Mmm. Your illustration is lovely, too.

Lesley dijo...

I've been visiting off an on for a while now. Today I have to say a big thank you.
Now I'm off to the shops to get the ingredients for your stuffed peppers - Mmmmmm!

lobstersquad dijo...

Eb: I always add sugar, everywhere. Don´t know if it´s authentic, but I love it.
Angie: Hi! good to have you in town I´m sure.
Lego: se hace. lo prometo. y como es el arroz falso ese no se pasa, pero milagrosamente está lleno de sabor. de chupar todo el líquido de los pimientos, supongo.
Pea and pear: well, thank you thank you! Always glad to meet another Woody Allen fan.
Shayne: stuffed peppers are one of the most beautiful dishes ever, right? they look sooo good.
Elle: sofrito is a good starting base for anything, yes. Glad you like the drawing, too.
Lesley: I hope they came out well!

lobstersquad dijo...

Eb: I always add sugar, everywhere. Don´t know if it´s authentic, but I love it.
Angie: Hi! good to have you in town I´m sure.
Lego: se hace. lo prometo. y como es el arroz falso ese no se pasa, pero milagrosamente está lleno de sabor. de chupar todo el líquido de los pimientos, supongo.
Pea and pear: well, thank you thank you! Always glad to meet another Woody Allen fan.
Shayne: stuffed peppers are one of the most beautiful dishes ever, right? they look sooo good.
Elle: sofrito is a good starting base for anything, yes. Glad you like the drawing, too.
Lesley: I hope they came out well!

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