If you've ever made a Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe, then you know that it's basically a meatloaf mixture stuffed into a pepper - and it can be any kind of pepper. This recipe uses large, sweet bell peppers, but you can adapt and create stuffed peppers of any variety and certainly vary the ingredients with what you have in your pantry or refrigerator.
This Bell Pepper recipe is very flavorful. It has lots of texture in the meat mixture and along with a firm bite from the sweet bell peppers, you will probably have wished you would have made more. The peppers are a meal in themselves, but for the hungry people at your table, you can add a small side salad to go along with them. Enjoy!
4 large red, yellow or green bell peppers
1 cup of cooked wild rice
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced into 1/4" slices
1/2 lb. ground beef, preferably chuck
1 package of sweet Italian sausage (or 5 medium links from your butcher)
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 large eggs, well beaten
4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with sauce
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1. Toss the sliced fennel in a little olive oil and roast on a foil lined cookie sheet until tender, approximately 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool and then chop well. Wash and cut the bell peppers lengthways and carefully remove the seed pod with a small utility knife. Rinse, pat dry and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the next 9 ingredients along with the wild rice and roasted, chopped fennel and mix together well with your hands. Let the mixture rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the canned tomatoes with sauce along with the tomato paste and heat gently over a medium to low heat on the stove top, until the tomato paste has blended with the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.
4. Using a casserole dish that will hold the peppers snugly without falling over, add a little of the tomato sauce mixture to the bottom of the dish and add 3 tbsp. water to thin it out. You don't need a lot! This will stop the sauce from burning. Place the peppers on top of the sauce and divide the beef and pork filling evenly into each pepper.
5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes and then remove from the oven. Divide the remaining tomato sauce on top of the peppers and top with the mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes until the cheese starts to turn a golden brown.
Plate your peppers in a bowl with tomato sauce on the bottom. Garnish with more fresh, chopped parsley if desired.