Stuffed peppers with meat and smoked bacon in a rich tomato sauce.
Loved, and made in the same basic way, stuffed peppers are really a Balkans affair. Minced pork or beef, sometimes a mixture of the two, with onions or without, always rice and spices.
In Ardeal, the middle of Transylvania, a broth is also made instead of sauce, the same way as the meatballs soup, but it’s made with stuffed peppers instead. Same mixture, only there’s no sauce, so you can try it that way too.
- 4-8 red, green or yellow peppers (depending on size)
- 500g minced porc
- 100g rice
- 400g smoked belly pork, knuckle, bacon
- 2 spoons tomato paste or 250ml tomato passata
- 1 spoon flour
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 50ml oil
- salt, black pepper, dried thyme, sugar
Prepare the peppers by deseeding them, cut them across the top and remove the core and the seeds, also with a small knife the membranes from inside.
Mix the meat and the rice together, season with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Sometimes, should you want, sweet paprika can be also added.
Stuff the peppers with the mixture as tight as you can, taking care not to split them. Arrange them into a pot, add the smoked meats, bay leaves and just about cover with water.
Simmer on a low heat for about 60 minutes until the meat is cooked through. As the meat juices come out, they will be absorbed by the rice giving the dish more flavour.
For the sauce now, add the oil to a pan and heat up. Mix in the flour and cook until it reaches a light brown colour.
Pour in the tomato passata, or the tomato paste (loosen with 250ml of water) and stir fast to get rid of any lumps. Add some more water from the stuffed peppers pot until a thick (to your taste) sauce has formed. Season with some sugar if the sauce is too acid from the tomatoes. To taste again.
Another way to do this, is by adding the tomato paste to the pot of boiling peppers. Once cooked, make a mixture of water and cornflour and add to the pot (whilst simmering) to thicken the sauce.
A one pot dish, a meal on its own, it doesn’t need anything else on the side, apart from a nice piece of crusty fresh bread to mop up all the sauce.
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.