Monday, October 18, 2010

Stuffed Green Peppers Casserole

I still have a lots of  red and green cubanelle peppers in the garden, as well as some scroungy-looking tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter, so I decided to make a double batch of this casserole for the freezer.  It also allowed me to make use of some fresh basil and oregano before the frost hits.  It's basically a recipe for stuffed peppers that I turned into a casserole so I could feature cubanelle peppers in place of the bell peppers; the cubanelles don't lend themselves to being stuffed, but they work nicely in this recipe.  Cubanelle peppers are similar to sweet Italian frying peppers and have a wonderful flavor.  Plus, for whatever reason, I have no trouble growing them, unlike Bell peppers!
For the meat, I usually use a mixture of sausage and ground beef for the best flavor.  But, since I'm trying to avoid pork these days (unless I can get it from a reputable source at a reasonable price - not very likely!), I simply used grass-fed ground beef that I get from the farmer down the road.  It was still tasty!
Organic cheese is terribly expensive, so I used just a sprinkle of a non-organic brand.

Source:  Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

2 large green peppers, or the equivalent of cubanelle peppers (red or green), seeded and coarsely chopped
3/4 pound ground beef, ground pork, ground lamb, or bulk pork sausage
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 8-oz. can tomatoes, chopped or 1 c. fresh tomatoes
1/3 c. brown rice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. fresh basil, chopped, or 1/4 t. dried basil
1 t. fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 c. water
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown meat with onion; drain fat if necessary.  Stir in undrained tomatoes, uncooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, basil, oregano, water, salt and pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until rice is tender, approximately 45 minutes.

While the meat and rice mixture is cooking, parboil peppers in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes; drain.

When rice is tender, stir in 1/4 c. cheese and peppers.  Place in an 8x8x2" baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese; let stand for 1-2 minutes.

Serves 4.

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