Stuffed Bellpeppers

(this is a combination of a couple recipes)

6 bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed (reserve tops, chop)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 lb ground beef, or 1/2 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 oz tomato sauce
Baked cornbread, crumbled*
Some grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, chopped pepper tops, and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef (or beef and pork), garlic, parsley, salt, and black pepper; cook until the meat is browned, stirring to break up the lumps. Add the crumbled cornbread and tomato sauce, and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8″ deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the meat mixture and place in the baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake until the peppers are very tender, the filling is heated through, and the cheese is as you like it, 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*A box mix of cornbread would work fine, as would ready-made store-bought cornbread. Additionally, one of the original stuffed-pepper recipes my husband consulted when creating his version offers this:

1/2 cup white cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbsp oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9″ pan. Combine dry cornbread ingredients. Combine milk, egg, and oil separately, beating slightly. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

❤ Kate Sherwin

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