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STUFFED BELL PEPPERS TEST KITCHEN

Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers
Serves 4 as a light main dish or side dish

Salt
4 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (about 6 ounces each), 1/2 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
12 ounces ground beef, preferably ground chuck
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup ketchup

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. Return water to boil; add rice and boil until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain rice and transfer to large bowl; set aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Meanwhile, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking beef into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Stir together ketchup and reserved tomato juice in small bowl.

5. Place peppers cut-side up in 9-inch square baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tablespoons ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

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