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Hungarian Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Everyone in Eastern Europe seems to have a favorite form of this dish. I enjoy it very much, though as a child I thought my mother was trying to kill me with it. Ours were green peppers, of course. She couldn't afford red peppers. Don't overcook the peppers; that's the secret.

Cuisine: Hungarian
Courses: Main Course
Serves: 6 people

Recipe Ingredients

6 cups 1422mlRed bell peppers (medium)
2 tablespoons 30mlOil or freshly rendered lard
3 tablespoons 45mlGarlic cloves - crushed (large)
1 tablespoon 15mlOnion - chopped fine (medium)
1/2 cup 73g / 2.6ozParsley, fresh - chopped
1/4 cup 40g / 1.4ozLong-grain rice
1 1/2 cups 355mlChicken stock - fresh or canned
1 lb 454g / 16ozGround pork, veal, or chicken
  Either, or all in combination
1 1/2 tablespoons 22mlHungarian paprika - or to taste
1 tablespoon 15mlEgg (large)
2 cups 474mlPaprika Gravy - see * Note
  Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste
  Salt - to taste

Recipe Instructions

* Note: See the "Paprika Gravy" recipe which is included in this collection.

Cut off the very top part of the peppers. Chop the pepper tops finely, omitting the stems, and save for the filling. Seed and core the peppers; set aside.

Heat a large covered frying pan and add the oil or lard. Saute the garlic, onions and reserved chopped pepper tops until tender. Add the parsley and rice and saute for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine the ground meat, paprika, egg, salt and pepper to taste with the rice mixture. Mix very well.

Fill the peppers just to the top, but don't pack too firmly because the rice will expand during cooking. Place the filled peppers in a Dutch oven and add the remaining 1 cup chicken stock to the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer very gently for 45 minutes, keeping the temperature very low or the peppers will break. Move the peppers about the pot a few times during cooking to prevent sticking.

After 45 minutes pour the Paprika Gravy over the peppers, cover and simmer for 20 minutes more.

THE FRUGAL GOURMET by Jeff Smith - From the 09-18-1991 issue - The Springfield Union-News


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