Crockpot Israeli-Style Stuffed Peppers

Crockpot Israeli-Style Stuffed Peppers

By Shannon Sarna

(The Nosher via JTA) – Stuffed peppers are a comfort food for both Americans and Israelis. But the two versions vary quite a bit in their spice profiles and methodology. American-style stuffed peppers are often topped with cheese, stuffed with corn, beans, rice and sometimes meat, and feature a more Tex-Mex spice mixture.

In the tradition, it’s common to stuff all kinds of vegetables: onions, zucchini, eggplant and, yes, peppers. Filled with rice, meat, pine nuts, raisins, fresh herbs and varying spices, the Israeli and Sephardic versions are saucier than their American counterparts, and often impart a sweet and savory flavor profile. The American version is typically just savory.

This version is inspired by a recipe from Janna Gur, a story from a colleague about her weekly stuffed peppers and my desire to make a weeknight-friendly recipe that you can make in your slow cooker. If you prefer to make it in a traditional pot on the stove, or in the oven, cook for approximately 2 hours on medium-high heat (or 375 F. in the oven).

Gur’s recipe was featured in her second cookbook, "Jewish Soul Food."

Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher. The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.

Crockpot Israeli-Style Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients
For the peppers
1 small onion (or half 1 large onion), diced
½ cup uncooked rice
½ pound ground beef
¼ cup pine nuts
1 tomato, grated (best to hand grate the
tomato on a coarse grater)
¾ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp dried parsley)
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
5-6 bell peppers, inside seeds and membranes removed (you can leave top of peppers intact for presentation if desired)

For the sauce
15 ounces tomato sauce
½ cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp salt

Directions
Spray the inside of a 6- or 7-quart crockpot with a nonstick spray. Add tomato sauce, water, garlic cloves and honey. Stir to mix.
Arrange peppers in tomato sauce in the pot.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent.
Add rice, pine nuts and grated tomato, and stir to coat for 2-3 minutes.
Add meat and break up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink, another 2-3 minutes.
Scoop rice-meat mixture into each pepper until filled three-quarters of the way. Place tops to each pepper on top (this step is optional).
Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 7-8 hours.
Serve warm.

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