Friday Night Plate: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

6 green, red or yellow bell peppers, or a combination
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for drizzling tops of peppers
1 onion, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced or to taste
1 teaspoon hot Madras curry powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups cooked long grain rice, preferably basmati
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/3 cup cashews
3 firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano. or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or to taste
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh or dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
Lemon juice or wedges

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds and ribs, reserving tops. Discard stems and dice reserved tops. Set aside. In a large saucepan of boiling water blanch the peppers to 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are slightly soft. Drain, refresh, and pat completely dry. Cut off a thin slice from the bottom of each pepper so that it stands straight.

In a nonstick skillet set over moderate heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil until it is hot, add the onion, cashews and reserved diced pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.  Add the garlic, curry powder and ginger and cook, stirring 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Brown the lamb and beef in the same skillet, without draining off any fat, add to the the other ingredients in the large bowl.

Stuff the peppers with the filling and arrange them in a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle tops of peppers with the bread crumbs and Parmesan and drizzle each with a little olive oil. Bake the peppers for 40 to 45 minutes, or until stuffing is completely cooked. Transfer peppers to a serving platter and sprinkle with lemon juice or serve with lemon wedges.

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