Food

Totally tempting paprika-spiked stuffed peppers

A Hungarian-style comfort food that's both healthy and heartwarming.

A Hungarian-style comfort food that's both healthy and heartwarming

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

Fall means it’s time for recipes just like this. The ones that tempt and taunt you with smells emanating from an oven that you are trying desperately not to peek into. Hot tip: Don’t snack on the bread while you wait, you’ll want to be good and hungry to appreciate these. They will be worth it!

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers

By Josie Malevich

These Hungarian-style stuffed peppers are a rustic and comforting dish. Serve with green beans, boiled potatoes and a crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup basmati or other long-grain rice
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt, or to taste, divided
  • 1 ¼ tsp black pepper, or to taste, divided
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika (sweet)
  • 6 to 8 red bell peppers or Hungarian-style sweet white peppers
  • ¾ lb ground pork
  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • ⅓ cup dried or fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika (sweet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 jar (680 mL) pureed and strained tomatoes (passata)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Heat oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes or until very tender. Stir in rice. Season with ¼ tsp each salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, cut off tops of peppers and scoop out seeds; discard tops and seeds.

Mix together the ground pork, ground beef, the cooled rice mixture, the bread crumbs, parsley, Hungarian paprika, egg, vinegar, and the remaining salt and pepper until combined.  Stuff the meat mixture into the peppers, loosely pack the mixture into them so that the rice has a little room to expand as it cooks. Fit the stuffed peppers snuggly in a Dutch oven or oven-proof casserole dish. (If you have any meat mixture left, roll it into big meatballs and add to the Dutch oven.)

Combine the chicken stock, tomato puree, tomato paste and bay leaves. Pour gently over the stuffed peppers. The liquid should come up to the tops of the peppers, if not add a little water. Spoon some of the liquid into each of the peppers. (To speed up the cook time, bring the liquid to a boil and then pour over peppers before baking.)

Cover and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the rice is cooked through and peppers are very tender. Remove bay leaves before serving. Sprinkle with more parsley if desired before serving.

Servings: Makes 6-8 stuffed peppers

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