I’ve always thought of stuffed peppers as a heavy, multi-step dish, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make lighter, brighter stuffed peppers in less than an hour. These peppers are a good meal to make when you need something reasonably light and healthy in preparation for, say, Thanksgiving feasting.
Prepare a cup of rice according to your favorite method.
While the rice is cooking, take 6 small bell peppers—I used green, yellow and red—and remove the tops (reserve them), seeds and ribs. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, and blanch the cleaned peppers and tops for six minutes. Remove; dip in a bowl of chilled water (or hold them under cold running water for 5 minutes). Place in a colander; let drain.
In the meantime, sauté a large, chopped onion in some olive oil. When the onion is turning golden and translucent (about 8 minutes), add a pound of ground meat—beef, pork, chicken or turkey (my preference). Sauté until just done; salt and pepper generously. Add 1 tsp. paprika and cayenne to taste. Take the mixture off the heat, and add ½ cup cooked rice, ½ cup good canned tomatoes, chopped, and 4 oz. cheese—I like feta for this. Mix.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Spread 1 cup chopped tomatoes on the bottom of a Dutch oven or a baking pan. Place peppers in the pan and fill with the meat and rice mixture; top with extra cheese and pepper tops. Pour 1 cup chopped tomatoes over the top. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the peppers are thoroughly hot and the cheese is melted.
Let cool a little before eating. Top with sour cream. Serve with the extra rice.