Stuffed sweet peppers in tomato sauce

 

This recipe has been a family favourite for a long time. It was handed down to me by my mum who got it from her mum. This is comfort food for me. It reminds me of summer school holidays spent at our holiday house, mum or grandma standing by the stove stirring a giant pot and the sweet smell of peppers and tomatoes filling the kitchen, the steaming plates filled to the brim …


Easy and delicious summer dinner. 
Give it a try, you won’t regret it.
 
 
INGREDIENTS

8 green sweet peppers, deseeded (you may know them as “bullhorn” or “sweet chille”)

Stuffing
 
500 g minced pork
500 g minced beef
2 whole eggs
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp sweet hungarian paprika
1 tsp thyme
 
if you are lucky enough to have some tsubrica (bulgarian spice) in your pantry, add a tsp of that to the mix
 
Sauce
 
1 large onion, finely diced
50 g butter
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Litres of water
2 cups of carrot, celeriac, parsnip – cubed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
10 whole peppercorns
3 whole all spice berries
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 tomato ketchup
salt
sugar
extra olive oil
 
 

METHOD
 
Preheat oven to 200C.
 
In a large bowl mix all the stuffing ingredients together.
Stuff the peppers with the meat stuffing. Be gentle as the peppers can crack if too much force is applied.
Put some of the extra olive oil on the bottom of an oven-proof roasting dish.
Lay your peppers in the dish, sprinkle some olive oil on top and add few Tbsp of water.

Bake uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes or until peppers are slightly brown.
 
Have you got some meat stuffing left over?
Don’t fret. Make some meat balls. Oil another oven-proof dish and pop them in the oven at the same time as the peppers.
 
And while our peppers are getting their suntan on, let’s make some sauce.
 
Sweat the onion in a large pot in 2 Tbs of olive oil and 25 g of the butter.
Add the carrots, parsnip and celeriac and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes.
 
 
 
I keep this root veggies mix in the freezer in a zip-lock bag and use it in soups and sauces. It reduces the amount of salt- laden stock you have to add to your soups. 
Add the flour and stir for another 3 minutes. Don’t worry if it starts browning; we need a bit of colour.
Add all of the water in one go. Stir and add the spices, tomato paste and ketchup.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to minimum and keep it bubbling for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of your pot.
 
Don’t worry if you see any lumps of flour, they will cook off. 
The sauce should be the consistency of pumpkin soup; not too runny.
 
Take sauce away from the heat and pass through a strainer, leaving behind the veggies and spices.
Add the remaining 25 g of butter to the strained sauce.
This will make it velvety. 
 
If you need to thicken the sauce, add some flour whisked in to a cup of water;  return the sauce to the heat and boil for a further 5 minutes.
 
Taste the sauce now. It shouldn’t be too acidic. If this is the case, add a little sugar and stir.
 
Now it’s time to put it all together.
 
 
 
Add the peppers (and meat balls) to the sauce and bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down to minimum and keep it simmering for a further 20 minutes.
 

And that’s it. 

Enjoy the peppers on their own or with a side of boiled potatoes or rice.

The dish will definitely develop its flavours as the days pass.

You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it. 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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