Stuffed bell peppers are a Southern treat which varies in style from home to home, and nearly every Southern home boasts an excellent version!
Fusion cooking originated, from the desire to make food more diverse and interesting and to ignite excitement in new ingredients and fresh combinations of ingredients. But diners don’t have to journey to London to enjoy the food fusion revolution.
This delicious recipe for Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers was developed by marrying a favorite old family recipe for Cajun style stuffed bell peppers with another favorite recipe for Dolmas (Greek stuffed grape leaves). Make them using a variety of lovely colored sweet bell peppers for a stunningly beautiful centerpiece to any dinner meal.
Recipe for Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers
1 pound ground beef or lamb meat
1 medium onion, diced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1½ cups raw rice
2 cups water
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup dried currants or raisins
1 small can tomato sauce
½ cup lemon juice, divided
10 – 12 medium to large bell peppers in a variety of colors
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional water, heated
Progresso seasoned bread crumbs
Instructions for the Making the Bell Pepper Stuffing
1. Sauté meat and onion together in a small amount of olive oil until they have lightly browned.
2. Add the rice and continue to sauté a couple of minutes longer.
3. Add 2 cups water, salt and pepper and bring up to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes so that the water is absorbed and the rice is partially cooked.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the herbs, feta, pine nuts, currants and tomato sauce.
6. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
Assembling the Stuffed Bell Peppers
1. Cut off the top of each bell pepper, remove and discard seeds
2. Fill each bell pepper to the top with the stuffing.
3. Place bell peppers in a lidded roaster pan, arranging them so that they will not fall over.
4. Sprinkle bell peppers with seasoned bread crumbs.
Cooking Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers
1. Pour ½ of the lemon juice and enough additional hot water to cover the bottom of the roaster by about ½ inch.
2. Cover the roasting pan and roast at 400°F for 45 minutes – the pepper walls should be tender.
3. Carefully remove cover (there will be steam) and return the roaster to the oven.
4. Broil the stuffed bell peppers until the tops have nicely browned
To serve, arrange the Greek Styled Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers on a platter and drizzle them with the remaining lemon juice and olive oil.
Serve hot as a main course dish with a mixed spring greens salad, and a crusty bread for dipping in the lemony olive oil.
Variation on Preparation of the Recipe
The peppers may be stuffed and frozen for baking later. They freeze very well! Defrosting before baking will not be necessary, but may take up to twice as long to bake them at the same temperature.
If the peppers are defrosted first, they will actually cook in a shorter than normal time.