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Monday, September 12, 2011

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers

The thing that makes these peppers stand out from all the other stuffed peppers in the world is the paprika...it's in the meat, it's in the gravy, it's in the smell that permeates the house while you're baking this dish. 

The pepper-and-paprika infused gravy is built on an intensely flavorful stock and finished in the original recipe (Frugal Gourmet's Immigrant Ancestors) with a "beurre maniĆ©" of flour and sour cream.  Since I've never had good things come of freezing sour cream, I use buttermilk inside for a freezer-friendly version.  Just be sure when you add the buttermilk-flour slurry to whisk constantly and pour slowly to avoid lumps.

Since this does take a little prep work, it's worth it to make a LOT and freeze these puppies up.  Especially if you hit a good sale on bell peppers at your market.  Doubling this recipe is no problem, just freeze the peppers in the number of portions you want with appropriate division of the gravy stock and flour-buttermilk mixture.

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers
Makes 6 servings

For the peppers:
6 large bell peppers, any color
2 tbsp bacon fat, butter or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup long grain white or brown rice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound ground pork, beef, chicken, or turkey
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules or 1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 cup chicken stock

For the gravy stock:
1/2 tbsp bacon fat, butter or olive oil
2 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, chopped coarsely
1 small anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped coarsely
1 small onion, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 small tomato, chopped coarsely
3 cups beef stock
salt and pepper to taste

For the thickener:
1/4 cup buttermilk powder
6 tbsp flour
1/2 cup water

Slice the tops off the peppers and reserve.  Take tiny slices off the bottoms if necessary to help them stand straight.  Discard cores, stems and seeds.  Chop tops (and bottom slices, if any) finely.

Heat fat in a large lidded skillet, and saute peppers, garlic, onion, and parsley over medium heat about 5 minutes.  Stir in rice and chicken stock.  Cover, bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low 10-15 minutes for white rice, 20-25 minutes for brown rice (add an extra splash of stock for brown rice).  Let cool before stuffing peppers.

Meanwhile, heat fat in a saucepan over medium heat for gravy stock.  Saute paprika 1 minute, then add garlic, pepper, onion and tomato.  Saute 5 minutes until softened, then add beef stock.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Strain, discard solids, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a freezer bag if making a freezer kit.

Back to the peppers...once rice mixture is cooled somewhat, mix it into the ground meat with paprika, egg and salt and pepper to taste.  Divide mixture among peppers (peppers will look "underfilled" but rice will expand during baking).  For a freezer kit, place peppers in a deep disposable roasting pan and add dry chicken bouillon to the pan or freeze them individually (on a baking sheet, transfer to a bag when fully frozen) with plans to transfer them to an oven-safe casserole at time of cooking. 

Freezer kit: peppers in deep
loaf pan, gravy stock, thickener
and cooking directions
For thickener, stir buttermilk powder and flour together thoroughly and bag, if making a freezer kit.  Label with instructions to add 1/2 cup water at time of cooking.

To cook, thaw freezer kit.  Add 1 cup boiling water to bottom of oven-safe covered casserole and mix in chicken bouillon (or heat 1 cup chicken stock to boiling and pour in).  Arrange peppers, cover and bake 45 minutes at 350F.  Meanwhile, heat gravy stock to simmering.  Whisk 1/2 cup water into thickener mix.  Slowly whisk buttermilk-flour slurry into gravy stock.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.  After 45 minutes of baking, pour gravy over peppers.  Recover and continue baking for 20-30 minutes.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.  Pin It

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