With both ground beef and bell peppers on sale at Kroger this week, I decided to make some stuffed peppers. It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve made them, and I love them. Also, I’ve long wanted to try making them in the slow cooker to see how they’d turn out, so I tested a recipe yesterday.
Red, yellow and orange bell peppers are $1 apiece on sale, and green bell peppers are 50 cents each. My husband prefers the sweeter colored peppers, so that’s what I went with for mine. The recipe I used was supposed to make six stuffed peppers, but I realized that’s only if you’re using small to medium ones. If using larger peppers, it’ll make about four.
As per usual, I made a few changes to this recipe. I really did not see the point in cooking the ground beef ahead of time if the peppers were going to be in the slow cooker for 6 or 7 hours. Maybe if you’re using fatty ground beef you’d want to cook it ahead and skim off the fat, but I used lean and really didn’t have any problem.
I also did not cook the leek (or onion, if you want to substitute) in advance. I diced it instead of chopping and the smaller pieces came out tender. One final step I added is one that I always add when I make bell peppers. I trim off any good bits around the stem, dice them and add them to the hamburger mixture.
One nice thing about this recipe is the combination of tomatoes and red wine that make a kind of sauce for the peppers. You could pour that out and skim off any remaining grease, then use it either as-is or reduce it a little to thicken it up and adjust the seasoning.
There are tons of different recipes out there for slow cooker stuffed peppers. You could probably make a lot of variations to this recipe below and it would still come out well. Next time, I probably will use a little less rice and a few more vegetables.
Do you ever make stuffed peppers? If so, how does your favorite recipe differ from this one?
Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
Makes 4 to 6
In my Hamilton-Beach oval slow cooker, these took about 6 3/4 hours. My changes are marked in bold.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3-cup diced leek (white part only), rinsed well (I used 1/3 cup diced onion)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup converted long-grain white rice
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
6 small or 4 large bell peppers
1. In a large skillet, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat, crumbling with a fork until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the salt, pepper, leek, cheese and rice, mixing well. (I kept the beef raw and mixed in all of the other ingredients)
2. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste and wine. Stir one cup of the tomato mixture into the beef mixture. Blend well.
3. Slice the tops off the bell peppers and carefully remove the seeds and inner ribs. (I diced any scraps of pepper around the stem and added to the beef mixture). Stand the peppers upright on a plate. Stuff with the beef mixture, dividing evenly and packing lightly. (I actually like mine tightly packed and mounded a bit on top)
4. Pour about 3/4 of the leftover tomato-wine mixture into the bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker. Place the peppers in the cooker, stacking them carefully if necessary. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the peppers.
5. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for 6 1/2 to 6 3/4 hours, until the rice is cooked and the peppers are tender but still hold their shape. Serve hot with the sauce from the bottom of the cooker.