Stoneham resident and longtime Globe reader Catherine Corradino sent us this recipe for stuffed peppers — “Any color but green!” she wrote — with a sweet-and-sour ground beef and rice mixture scented with cinnamon and studded with golden raisins. She says this was a favorite dish her late mother, Joan, made when Corradino was growing up in Reading. “The recipe comes from my mom’s dearest friend, Barbara Beaucher,” writes Corradino. She steams the peppers first, then fills them and bakes them. Steaming gives them a head start and results in soft, well-cooked vegetables. Ground turkey or lamb could be a nice alternative to beef.
|Butter (for the pan)|
|Salt and black pepper, to taste|
|½||cup long-grain rice|
|1||medium onion, finely chopped|
|2||cloves garlic, finely chopped|
|1||pound ground beef|
|1||can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes and their juices|
|¾||cup golden raisins|
|2||tablespoons brown sugar|
|1½||tablespoons red wine vinegar|
|½||teaspoon ground cinnamon|
|¼||teaspoon ground cloves|
|6||mixed yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, tops sliced off, peppers cored and seeded|
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-to 12-inch baking dish; it should be large enough to fit all the peppers snugly.
2. In a saucepan bring the water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rice and lower the heat. Set the cover on askew. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set the cover on the pan; let the mixture steam for 5 minutes.
3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens.
4. Add the beef and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the meat browns.
5. Add the tomatoes, raisins, sherry, sugar, vinegar, generous pinch of salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. The liquid will begin to evaporate. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
6. In a large pot fitted with a steamer insert and several inches of boiling water, set the peppers, cut sides up, on the steamer. Cover and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. With tongs, remove the peppers from the pot, tipping out any water that collected inside the peppers. Set them in the baking dish and sprinkle salt and pepper inside each one.
7. Add the rice to the meat mixture and stir well.
8. Spoon about 1 generous cup of the meat mixture into each pepper, creating a soft mound at the top. The dish can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance up to this point; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before you cook them.
9. Bake the peppers for 30 minutes or until they are soft when pierced with the tip of knife. Debra Samuels. Adapted from Catherine Corradino.