This is one of the first dishes I learned to prepare by my own and it happens to be in my husband's top 5 of favorite dishes. :) So, I definitely have to share it with you! :) Let's begin!
As you can see from the photo above, I didn't cut the peppers in half lengthwise as it's usually done when preparing this dish. I always use whole peppers instead - I just remove the pedicles and the seeds and that's it. Also, I always use mild wax peppers. I find them more suitable for stuffing as they have a thin, but yet firm rind that's so soft and tender after cooking that no one has left them yet onto the plate after the meal, as it is the case with the bell peppers. :) Even my hubby, who always eats the filling and leaves out the "wrapping", has no problem eating them! :)
Besides for their softness, I give one more point to wax peppers because they keep the filling more juicy. They have a lot smaller opening than bell peppers so the filling can not dry out. Plus, there is an extra hint to keep all juices inside the peppers. :)
- 10 medium-sized wax peppers (mild or hot, to taste)
- 300 g ground meat (pork, beef or combination of the two)
It looks like a long list, but don't worry - it doesn't cost much. :) Now, let's begin:
1. Prepare the filling first: pour the oil into a pot and add finely chopped onion. Cook stirring occasionally until soft and translucent. Add finely grated carrot and cook for an additional minute. Then add ground meat and cook stirring until it turns brown and loses its pink color. Add dried vegetables, salt and pepper. Combine.
2. Wash and drain the rice and add it to the meat. Cook for a minute or two stirring often. At the end, add parsley and paprika and combine. Remove from fire. Your filling is ready.
So, rice remains uncooked until it gets to the oven. This is the third difference between this recipe and most of the others.
I'm using this same filling for some other dishes as well, as we like it so much.
As for the rice, I always put 1 handful of rice per 100 g ground meat and we found it as a perfect ratio. But my handful is not really an exact measurement for you, so I checked it out and it appeared to be 60 g of rice per handful. :) So, 60 g of rice per 100 g of meat.
5. Stuff the peppers using a teaspoon. Do not press the filling inside. Just shake the peppers a bit so that it fills the gaps. Leave about 1cm free on the top and "seal" it with a slice of potato or tomato, or both. Cut the potatoes off a bit if needed.
Sealing the stuffed peppers this way, in fact sealing them at all, is the fourth difference.
I don't know why I'm doing that... I guess I simply like it. :) This "left out" filling tastes somehow special. You can also put the potato and tomato slices you didn't use for sealing, if any.
You can totally omit this gap filling if you wish and stuff some more peppers. It's all a matter of taste.
Serve hot with some bread and fresh salad.
We, personally, like to eat those stuffed peppers with sour cream.
Enjoy and bon appétit!