From Too Many Chefs - www.toomanychefs.com

February 19, 2005
Stuffed Green Peppers

stuffed green.jpgI had initially planned on using my ever-patient spouse as a guinea pig for this edition of Is My Blog Burning? (You are what you don't eat), hosted by My Latest Supper. Unfortunately, he proved less than patient at the idea of being forced to try something he doesn't like eating. In fact, he was quite peevish. "Why don't you make something YOU don't like?" he queried. "Like what?" I answered smugly, assured in my open-mindedness over exotic foods. "Well, what about those stuffed green peppers you're always going on about?"

Oh dear. He's right: there is one food I hate and have resolutely refused to eat for the last thirty years. Stuffed green peppers. Sigh.

My poor mother. Apparently I went all through babyhood and toddler years perfectly willing to eat stuffed green peppers. And then somewhere around the age of five or six, I decided I hated green peppers. Everything about them: the slime, the smell, the taste, the fact that my mother was insisting I liked them (probably). And so my poor working mother who had gone to the trouble to make something tasty for dinner was saddled with a stubborn little girl who would not eat her dinner. "Just eat the stuffing," she pleaded. "It's just added flavor to it." (Did she think it was something other than the flavor I didn't like?)

And so for years I avoided green peppers like the plague. In early adulthood someone convinced me to try cooked red peppers and I grudgingly admitted they were all right. I even eventually came to love them. And I could almost see that raw green peppers might be satisfying and crunchy to some. But the cooked green pepper taboo remained. Not me, not ever. Not on MY pizza, thank you very much.

I tried to call my mother tonight for the recipe for her stuffed green peppers, but unfortunately she was out. So I turned to the old standard of my childhood, the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. Sure enough, there was a recipe. I don't think it was quite the same as my mom's (which I'm pretty sure involved some kind of tomato sauce). But it would do. It still involved cooked green peppers.

Stuffed Green Peppers

I based this recipe on the Fanny Farmer one, with a few minor modifications. I used shallots instead of onions as I was out of the latter. I added some garlic and used Lawry's salt for seasoning.

4-5 shallots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup cooked rice
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbs chopped frozen basil
green peppers

This recipe made enough stuffing for at least four peppers, or six if they are not very large. I had one large green pepper and one medium red. I have leftover stuffing.

Preheat the oven to 375F/180C. Sauté the shallots and the pressed garlic cloves in the olive oil until they are soft. Add the ground beef and turn up the heat to cook the beef quickly. When it is just about done, turn off the heat and drain the meat of any fat that may have collected in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Take the top off the peppers and knock out any seeds that may have fallen into them. If the ridges on the interior are white, slice them off too. Stuff the peppers with the meat and rice mixture. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the peppers are tender but not soggy.

stuffed peppers.jpgAs mentioned, in addition to the green pepper I had a red pepper. This was insurance in case the green one was as disgusting as I remembered; I figured the red one would at least be edible. In fact, I added one more touch to the red pepper by layering anchovies into the stuffing. I thought that with the garlic and the peppers and the beef a little anchovy would go down well.

And the result? Astonishingly edible is all I can say. It's not a dish I'm going to add to our favorites, but I did eat both peppers. And I liked them. The green pepper flavor wasn't as strong as I remembered and so I wonder if it isn't one of those things that has a stronger smell than taste? Or did I just luck out and get a particularly sweet green pepper? Whatever the reason, I wasn't put off by the flavor. Also, unlike the green peppers of my memory, this one wasn't slimy at all. It still had a bit of bite in it, enough to hold the whole dish together in fact. So I ate my first stuffed green pepper in at least 30 years. And then I ate the red one. (I was right about the anchovies, by the way - very tasty!)

And so, for this edition of Is My Blog Burning? I have conquered a food phobia. I suppose I'll be thankful for being forced to confront this old enemy at some point; at the moment I'm slightly bemused and confused...
uncooked green.jpg

Posted by Meg in Sussex at February 19, 2005 3:52 PM | TrackBack
Comments

I did the same with brussel sprouts a few years back. My mom used to boil the h*ll out of them when I was a kid. She always bought the frozen kind and would boil them at least 3 different times before my dad got home from work.

About 2 years ago, someone passed the Barefoot Contessa recipe on to me - Roasted Brussel Sprouts. I decided to try them and fell in love with them. Now I cook them many different ways.

So, you can fall in love with something you refused to eat for many years. I also eat broccoli now, some greens, olives, capers and chiles but I still refuse to eat beets, lima beans and bluefish.

Some things never change.

Posted by RisaG on February 19, 2005 at 7:58 PM

Oh, Gah! Stuffed peppers.

My Mom loves the damned things. And my Dad eats them, though he doesn't love the pepper part. But when I was a kid, I hit a certain stage where I refused to eat the pepper. I would scoop out the stuffing and eat that, but that evil slimy pepper thing--never. Ever.

Bits of green pepper cooked in things were fine. No problem. I even ate them on pizza. I loved them raw. And I like them in stir fry. But those wrinkly stuffed gicky things--they still make me shudder.

I took to making stuffed eggplants and red peppers instead. Those are good.

But, I have since learned a few things about the pepper cooking--they don't get so slimy if you don't overcook them. If your stuffing is essentially cooked when it goes in, you can steam the peppers in a pressure cooker and cook them until they are just tender--not falling apart and slimy.

Also, I discovered that I could make a great Northern Indian style stuffing from leftover rice pillau with golden raisins and almonds mixed with a ground lamb dish called keema sook--essentially it is dry cooked ground lamb with spices. Mix the two in equal parts together and use that to stuff the peppers, steam them, and serve with a spicy fresh mango and chile chutney and the dish is phenominal. My Mom -really- liked that version and even I and my husband ate it with glee.

Though, he ate it with a red pepper...I cannot convince him of green peppers' goodness.

Posted by Barbara on February 20, 2005 at 12:37 PM

I just had a message from my mother with the recipe she used way back in the seventies:

"I got the recipe from Grandma L. The
filliing was just rice (partially cooked), ground
beef, onions, and Lawry's salt. Stuff into whole or
half a green pepper. The sauce was 2 cans Campbell
Tomato soup, a bit of flour to thicken it and a large
pat of butter. Pour over stuffed peppers in a large
frying pan, cover and cook slowly for about 30
minutes."

Hm. That would explain the slime factor. I'm actually kind of glad that my mom wasn't home when I called to ask for the recipe because I'm pretty sure I would not have revised my opinion on cooked green peppers if I had followed hers! That said, if I were ever to make it again (which is nevertheless unlikely) I'd probably make a tomato sauce separately to be served with it because the stuffing was a bit dry.

Indian stuffed red peppers sound fantastic!

And at the end of the day, although I no longer hate the green variety I still agree with your husband: the red ones are much nicer!

Posted by Meg in Paris on February 20, 2005 at 12:51 PM

As a sibling at the same table with Meg trying to get past the slimy green stuff (which I now love, but am intrigued by the description of a tender, non-slimy variety from above), I have to say you MUST make the tomato sauce. Even though it is so '70's, (canned tomato soup, butter and flour?), it really rocks that particular dish.

Posted by Ann on February 21, 2005 at 10:03 AM

RisaG, seriously try this salad - http://www.toomanychefs.net/archives/001264.php

It will change your thoughts about beets.

Posted by barrett on February 21, 2005 at 2:13 PM

My brother has also written me privately to say he liked the stuffed green peppers and he theorizes that one possible contributing factor to the slime was the fact that my mother may not have cooked and drained the meat before putting it in the peppers. Hmmmm...grease....

Posted by Meg in Paris on February 22, 2005 at 11:18 AM

Ha!!! So u dont like green peppers!!! but me I like them.... Different people.. different tastes.. i think that explains... I do stuff green peppers for a change sometimes..

Cool!

Posted by Grace on February 23, 2005 at 2:47 AM

This was my favorite dish my mom made growing up! In conquering your phobia, you gave me a recipe I've been meaning to hunt down!

Posted by Abby on February 23, 2005 at 6:45 AM

oh, dear god, green peppers, EEEW! *shudder* Hate them. HATE HATE HATE. Only food I truly will not eat. I feel your pain. I have late in life been able to eat them when cooked to death in lots of olive oil and salt and served with italian sausage and onions, but that is about it. And raw ones, forget it. Best way to ruin any dish. The flavor is so strong and overpowering, and metallic and unpleasant -- i think because they're underripe: red peppers are fine.

I had a particularly traumatic experience in college where I went to brunch in a fancy restaurant with the parents of a new boyfriend, and ordered something described as crab gratin. Nowhere was there any mention of vegetables of any kind, so imagine my horror when it arrived: a dish of finely flaked crab (threads, really), cream sauce, and finely minced green pepper. It was at least 50% peppers, I swear, and barely cooked at that, and the bits of both pepper and crab were so tiny it was nearly impossible to fish them out, let alone fish discreetly, and of course I was young and with new parental people I was trying to impress, so I couldn't even kvetch, let alone send it back. And I was so hungry! God, it hurts just remembering it. Eeesh.

Glad the stuffed one turned out okay -- my congratulations!

Posted by foodnerd on February 28, 2005 at 9:40 AM

Now here is one for the records.......My 28 year old son asked me a few weeks back,"why didn't you ever make stuffed green peppers like grandma"? I said "What, you like stuffed green peppers"? "Yes, mom"! Well I'll be darned. I had no idea and then this past Saturday we had lunch in this little place in a no name town and he ordered stuffed green peppers and he LOVED them. So now this mom wants to make the things for him. By the way I have never eaten the green pepper only the suffing and my mom made them regularly. Darn things always made me burp! But what won't a mom do for her son, so thanks for the recipe and I'll let you know how he liked them.

Posted by Esther Pla on October 10, 2005 at 8:55 AM

My Mom made them and I HATED them! Then I learned... green peppers aren't ripe! Why do people even try to eat them? We don't eat unripe apples, do we? They're GREEN. They're bitter. I made stuffed RED peppers last night, and the pepper part is offensive (and the filling kinda tasty).

Posted by Tim Bullard on February 7, 2006 at 10:29 AM

haven't had them in a long time , I am making them today..half pork half beef, mrs dash garlic pepper seasoning, butter rice, diced tomatoes and sauce. Boil\steam then stew in the sauce for a while...

Posted by cary dan on February 19, 2006 at 12:23 PM

For those of you with a problem with green peppers, apparently they do actually taste different to some people. Scientists say that it is more a matter of smell, and that to these poor people they taste and smell like kerosene. Personally, I have always liked them, but I had a husband and a son that didn't even like to be in the house if I had cooked them.

Posted by J Shaffer on November 3, 2006 at 6:31 PM

looking for best hot long peppers stuffed with anchovies in oil

Posted by marty on December 13, 2006 at 8:41 PM

looking for best hot long peppers stuffed with anchovies in oil

Posted by marty on December 13, 2006 at 8:42 PM

looking for best hot long peppers stuffed with anchovies in oil

Posted by marty on December 13, 2006 at 8:42 PM

looking for best hot long peppers stuffed with anchovies in oil

Posted by marty on December 13, 2006 at 8:42 PM

Growing up my mother use to make them with grnd beef,cooked rice, onions and she added bbq sauce to filling and a little tomato sauce, I did'nt eat the grn pepper when I was younger just the stuffing but NOW watch out, I Love them. I have to make them without the rice for my husband and the filling is more like meatball mixture but I do a combo in pasta sauce with red and grn peppers in the crock pot.

Posted by Tonia on January 21, 2007 at 12:15 PM

what do u fix with stuffed green peppers

Posted by brian on February 17, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Brian, they are kind of a meal on their own, with meat, starch and vegetable all in one dish. You could make a nice salad on the side, or maybe start with a soup if you think it's a little too light!

Posted by Meg in Paris on February 18, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Slimy green peppers? I wonder if you were fed okra and thought they were peppers. They are D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G ! They ooze out a lot of icky slime - how does anyone cope with that? first had em in Barbados over 30 years ago and every one in a while my Greek landlady brings them down to me omg beam me up.

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