Sometimes I wonder how two people with such different tastes could have ended up together. You could say it's a case of to-may-to, to-mah-to (though that's the one thing on which we can agree - we both hate raw tomatoes!), but we make it work. I've grown used to preparing more meat, for our shared meals at least, and Matt has even learned to enjoy a dessert or two that doesn't involve chocolate. Of course, there are a handful of cases where compromise just isn't an option, where it's easier to make two completely different meals than to make the necessary modifications or to 'grin and bear it.' We like to call those cases 'His-n-Hers Meals.'
Sure the idea of making two dinners for two people is kind of crazy, but rather than being a burden or a source of stress, I find I actually look forward to our His-n-Hers Nights. That's because they often lead to Matt and I spending some time in the kitchen together. I'm usually whipping up soup or seafood, while Matt grills up a few sausages or browns a mammoth hunk of ground beef. We spend a lot of time stumbling over each other in our closet-sized kitchen, but it's time spent together, nonetheless, and that is priceless.
Today's recipe is definitely a 'His' meal. Green peppers are one of the few foods to which I have an adverse physical reaction (any more than a thumbnail-sized piece and it's all I'll taste for days!), so when Matt brings them home, I know a His-n-Hers meal is in our future. Often, I'll cook them on the side to be added to Matt's portion of our stirfry, beef stew, or whatever I'm making, but sometimes they beg to be more than just an afterthought or garnish.
Today's peppers begged to be stuffed with beef and rice, and to be baked for Matthew's Sunday lunch. In this instance, I was able to share his meal - just leaving out the 'pepper' part of the 'stuffed peppers.' Since I've never tasted stuffed peppers, I can't say how my recipe compares to others. I can, however, say that Matt happily devoured his portion, and that the beef-and-tomato filling was great - I think the addition of cocoa powder (my new obsession in savory foods) really makes the meal!
Stuffed Green Peppers
makes 6 peppers (or enough for two large peppers and lots of extra filling!)
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cups uncooked rice
1 1/3 cups water
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (drain, and reserve water for use)
6 green bell peppers
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice and reserved tomato water, and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, brown beef in a large frying pan over high heat. Drain fat if necessary and then add onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a rolling boil (water should be deep enough to submerge peppers). Remove and reserve the tops of the peppers. Clean out the insides and discard membranes and seeds. Blanch the cleaned peppers in the boiling water, submerging for about 1 minute before running under cold water. This will reduce cooking time and improve the texture of the peppers (or so I'm told!)
Lightly grease a large casserole dish and arrange peppers in dish, hollow sides up (you can slice the bottoms of the peppers, if necessary, to make them stand upright). Place pepper tops in dish also.
In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice, browned beef, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, cocoa powder, oregano, black pepper, red pepper and white pepper. Add salt, if desired. Stir until well combined.
Generously fill prepared peppers with beef mixture. Tent a piece of aluminum foil over the peppers and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and pepper tops. If desired, top with a spoonful of pasta sauce or some grated cheese and bake a further 10-20 minutes, or until filling is browned and peppers appear tender. Serve hot.
|One pepper had a surprise inside - a little baby pepper!|
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