In-Law Attempt at Cresson Stuffed PeppersWarren

I love going to Cresson for food And Stuffed Peppers is probably my favorite thing up there that isn't served with mashed potatoes. But sometimes, it's a long way to go just to get fed. Especially in January and when the Steelers are out of the Playoffs. So, how to satisfy my yearning? Anita has made it lots of times but do I, an in-law, dare make it myself? Well, I found an old recipe from 1981 on the back of an envelope that had 601 Powell Ave. on it so I thought, what the heck! Four Score and Seven Years ago, our ... Oops, wrong envelope.

OK - well, my first problem was that the recipe was dictated and, I guess, in an homage to Hollywood movies was told in a series of flashbacks. So, part of the challenge - rearrange everything in the natural order (since the flashbacks were not in chronological order - Quentin Tarantino may have gotten the idea for Pulp Fiction from this envelope).

So here goes:

1 cup medium grain rice
1 small onion, chopped
a little butter
1 6-ounce can tomato paste (no salt added)
1 28-ounce can tomatoes (not stewed), quartered
"some" salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large green peppers (halved and cleaned out)
1 & 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg, beaten

Cook the rice (medium grain is best). This takes 20 minutes. While the rice is cooking, chop up and fry the onion in butter until transparent. While the onion is frying, make sauce in a big pot on the stove with the tomato paste, tomatoes, "some" salt and pepper. "some" was never defined. I figure people can add this themselves later. Add the sugar and 2 cups water (I add more water sometimes).

(Anita - who is spice happy - used the salt and pepper, plus she adds oregano, a little garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, which aren't in the original recipe.)

Half 3 green peppers (6 halves)

Mix in a bowl: egg, ground beef, cooked onions, cooked rice.

Here's the fun bit: Make the beef/rice mixture into meatballs (Anita puts her hands in plastic bags and squishes this all together really, really well. She thinks that is part of the secret to making sure the flavors blend. I agree, but I do it by hand. Me and Min don't need no stinkin' baggies).

Stuff the pepper halves with the meat/rice mixture. (I usually make a few "plain" meatballs as well. So 6 meatballs in the peppers and a few more.)

Before adding them to the sauce, put cold water on your hands and pat each Stuffed Pepper all over. Believe it or not, they stay together better this way. Drop them carefully in the sauce (pepper side down, but they can go on their sides if you are fitting them in. Try to make sure they are all under the sauce line (or mostly so). If not covered, spoon sauce on top of them before baking.
Bring the sauce to a boil on top of the stove.
Cover and bake for 1 hour in a 350-degree oven.
Eat happily.
Go take a nap on the couch.

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