Hungarian stuffed peppers are a nourishing, soul-warming dish that comes together easily as it’s an “assemble and forget” sort of recipe.
It is a great way to round out the summer as peppers are abundant with the harvest coming to an end. Additionally it is a wonderful transition from summer into fall as the heat slowly starts to part ways in the evening leaving us with a slightly cooler breeze. Grab yourself a big bowl of these peppers, some crusty bread and prepare to sink into a big bowl of comfort.
The important thing to know about this recipe is that it’s one of those non-recipe recipes, a measure with your heart sort of dish. So don’t get too caught up on the details, it’ll turn out great regardless.
The Friend: Barbi
Barbi and I met through our husbands, so to understand how our friendship came to be, you first need to understand how our husbands met. Her husband, Michael, wanted to hire my husband, Trevor, to film a movie that he was producing pre-pandemic.
To make a long story short, due to uncontrolled circumstances, the film was produced in LA instead of Jacksonville, where it was originally planned. After the pandemic, through a series of events, Michael and Barbi ended up moving to Jacksonville. He reached out to Trevor and the two picked right up where they left off. Trevor ended up hiring Michael as his executive producer and since then the four of us have become incredibly close… Barbi and I bonding over our love of food, recipes and wholesome ingredients – Michael & Trevor bonding over their passion for creating film.
At one point Barbi dropped off a bowl of these absolutely delicious stuffed peppers, and that’s when the concept of Cooking with a Friend developed. As we know, I adore cooking, but sometimes I find myself making foods limited to what I know, a lot of Italian inspired dishes, soups and family favorites- but rarely do I find myself wandering out of my comfort zone. Cooking with a Friend is opening me, and you!, up to a world of foods I wouldn’t necessarily have learned to make. Through that I get to explore an array of culinary delights and expand my kitchen skillset.
- Roughly 20 small sweet Hungarian peppers, you can also use any small sweet peppers found at the farmers market or grocery store such as sweet mini peppers, baby bell peppers or fresh banana peppers
- 2 lbs grass fed, pasture raised ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, mined
- Spices: You can add up to a tbsp of spices to your liking such as garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, marjoram, basil, etc.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 4 8-oz cans tomato sauce (3 regular, 1 with basil)
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- Cover rice with water and soak in a bowl
- Cut the stem off the peppers, then carefully using a knife create a hole where the stem was so you can scoop out the seeds. You don’t want to cut the top right off as we want the opening to stay small. Don’t worry about getting all the seeds out, just scoop them out with your finger as best as you can
- In a large bowl combine the ground beef, egg, onion and garlic. Mash with your hands. Next add in the spices, mix well.
- Drain rice and add it to meat mixture, mix well with your bands until completely incorporated.
- In a large dutch oven add the tomato sauce, cane sugar and smoked paprika – give it a stir
- Using your fingers, stuff the peppers all the way with the meat mixture, packing it all the way to the top
- Nestle the stuffed peppers upright in the sauce mixture, repeat until all the peppers are stuffed
- Take the remaining meat and roll into 1 inch meatballs, nestle those between the stuffed peppers in the sauce
- Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven at 350° for 1.5 hours
- Remove from oven, spoon peppers and meatballs into a bowl and add a dollop of sour cream. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping if desired.