Bella Veitzman learned this colorful, joyful recipe from her mom and aunt in Ukraine. It was served (vegetarian-style) at her wedding.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Bella’s special trick is to use buckwheat rather than rice for a fluffier stuffing with a wonderful taste.
- 8 medium-sized bell peppers (any color, red or yellow preferred)
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 1/2-3 lbs. carrots
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice or buckwheat
- 1 tbsp. dried herbs (parsley, dill, thyme, oregano)
- 2 tbsp. ketchup
- 2-3 tbsp. olive or canola oil
- Saute onions with oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat until golden brown. Reserve 1/3 of the cooked onions in a separate bowl. Meanwhile, peel carrots, cut off tops and shred with a grater or a food processor. Add carrots to onions with 1 tbsp. salt, dried herbs, and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes or until carrots start to become tender. If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to moisten the mixture. Add ketchup to mixture and stir to combine. Cook another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Remove carrots from pan into bowl and place pan aside for later reuse.
- Cut tops out of bell peppers and scrape insides to remove seeds. Heat a large pot of water to boiling, and submerge peppers, boiling 4-5 minutes until flexible. Remove from water and drain. Save several cups of the cooking water.
- In large bowl, combine meat with grains, reserved onion, and 1/4 of the cooked carrot mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. Stuff mixture into peppers, taking care not to over-stuff the peppers, and place the peppers into the previously-saved carrot pan. It is best if you can place the peppers in a single layer. Fill the pan with the reserved water until it reaches approximately half-way up the sides of the peppers. Add 1 tsp. of salt to the water and shake the pan to dissolve. Cover, bring to boil on high heat, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the rest of the carrot mixture over the top of the peppers and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Best served hot or warm.
The peppers can be stuffed with carrots only for a vegetarian-style dish. This can be served warm or cold.