Old New Orleans Gourmet Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 medium-size bell peppers
1 stick margarine
1 cup finely chopped onions
2/3 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 lb extra lean ground pork
1/2 cup whole milk
1 small can V-8 juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 whole eggs, well beaten
4 cups french bread stuffing mix
1/2 cup mixed Monterrey Jack and Colby cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs

First, cut the tops off the bell peppers, removed the seeds, and wash them well inside and out. Then place them into lightly salted boiling water and cook them until they just begin to wilt slightly. Do not overcook.
Next, remove them from the pot, shock them with cold water to stop the cooking, and place them cut-side down on paper towels to drain.

At this point, take a 12-inch skillet, melt the stick of margarine over medium heat, and gently saute the onions, green onions, celery, bell pepper, diced tomato, and parsley until tender (which takes about 5 minutes).

In the meantime, mix together the ground beef and pork with the whole milk and the V-8 juice (get in there with your hands to ensure that everything is evenly blended). Then drop the seasoned meat, along with the garlic, the wine, and the Worcestershire sauce, into the sauteed vegetable mixture and cook it over medium heat – stirring constantly – until it lightly browns and renders out the bulk of its juices.

When the mixture is done, transfer it to a large mixing bowl (do not drain off the juices!) and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then fold in the beaten eggs, French bread stuffing mix, cheese, salt and pepper. Remember…you don’t want the mixture stiff and dry, but you also don’t want it runny and wet either. Blend it just to the point of it being moist. Depending upon your cooking temperature and the grade of meat you used, the stuffing mixture could require either a little more bread or a little extra liquid than what is called for in the recipe.

If that’s the case, I suggest that if you need a little more bread, add it; and if you need a little more liquid, use either chicken broth, milk, or more V-8 juice. Use something with flavor – don’t use water!
All that’s left now is to stuff the mixture into the cooled bell peppers and set them into a shallow baking pan. Then liberally sprinkle the tops with the buttered bread crumbs and bake them – uncovered – at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until crumbs turn a toasty golden brown).

This recipe is from Frank Davis Cooks Naturally N’Awlins.

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