Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my dad would start cooking around 11:00pm the night before the big family meal. It was a highlight of my kid-life to stay up past bedtime cooking with him; at a young age he appointed me overseer of the instant chocolate pudding, a job which I took very seriously. Little did I know I was taking in information that I would never have the opportunity to ask him to document. Even if I had, he probably would have just said, “Well you know, you just put some of this and some of that until it tastes good!” I am proud to report that I was successful in recreating his Stuffed Peppers, filled with the Holiday traditional “Greek dressing” and am now going to attempt to document it, once and for all.
- 6-8 bell peppers, colors of choice
- 1.5-2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, roasted and chopped
- Grape tomatoes
- 1 bunch parsley (prep: tear off parsley leaves and set aside in bowl)
- ~1.5 cups pine nuts
- ~1.5 cups golden raisins
- salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder
- olive oil
1. Begin by hollowing out the bell peppers. I started by cutting off the tops/stems, cutting/ripping out the insides, and rinsing thoroughly to get rid of the seeds. Coat the hollowed insides with ~1/2 tsp olive oil in each. Set aside on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Heat olive oil in skillet; add onions to skillet, cook while garlic is roasting, then chop and add garlic. Cook in skillet, stirring often, until onions are translucent and garlic just starts to brown.
*Roasting garlic is a fancy term for putting un-peeled garlic cloves on a tray in the toaster-oven until they start to look browned. They are much easier to peel this way, and it releases the flavor in a wonderful way.
3. Add in ground beef; mix in with onions and garlic. Cook until no longer red.
4. Add 1 large tbsp of tomato paste; mix in with onions, garlic, meat. Add in salt, pepper, oregano.
5. Add another large tbsp tomato paste; mix in pine nuts and grape tomatoes.
6. Add yet another large tbsp tomato paste; mix in raisins.
7. You guessed it: add another large tbsp tomato paste, and add the parsley.
8. Add more salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and more oregano. This is a Greek recipe, after all, we don’t want to skimp on the oregano.
9. Keep stirring and adding tomato paste and seasonings until you are satisfied. I ended up using about 3/4 of the can of tomato paste. Add in more raisins and pine nuts if you wish, as well.
10. When meat is cooked and your “dressing” is satisfactorily seasoned, it’s time to stuff the peppers. Just spoon the “dressing” into the hollowed out peppers, and carefully place the tray in the oven. Cook on 350 for 40min-1 hour, until peppers are softened.
Enjoy! Note: be careful when microwaving the leftovers. I managed to set the stem of a pepper aflame when microwaving…you’ve been warned.
It also occurred to me that my dad would sometimes stuff large tomatoes as well, so if you’re in to tomatoes, there’s something to try. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of stuffing peppers and baking them, the filling alone is actually quite delicious and extremely filling, especially if you throw in some spinach!