Stuffed Bell Peppers

A classic American dish that one can't easily find in restaurants, stuffed bell peppers are essentially meatloaf stuffed into red or green bell peppers and baked in the oven.

4 green or red bell peppers
5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (or 3/4 cup of raw instant rice)
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp of dried oregano)
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

3. Meanwhile, cut top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.

4. Heat 4 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove skillet from heat, add meat, rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.

6. Drizzle remaining 1 Tablespoon of the oil inside peppers, arrange cut side up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling.

7. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish.

8. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature of the stuffed pepper is 150-160F.

Serves 4.