Stuffed Banana Peppers
Baked, Beef, Pork, Rice, Stews, Vegetables

Stuffed Banana Peppers (‘Gefüllte Spitzpaprika’)

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There’s no better way to prepare banana peppers than to stuff them with a meat mixture. Braised in a simple tomato sauce, they taste heavenly. I love to specifically use banana peppers for this dish because they are a bit smaller than traditional bell peppers and they have a nice bitterness to them.

I know that a lot of people don’t like the bitter varieties of peppers. A lot of recipes even specify to not use green bell peppers for stuffing. But I think there’s no better way to make this dish because the bitterness cuts nicely through the richness of the meat and sweetness of the tomato sauce. Cooked that way, the banana peppers remind me of bitter melon, a lovely Asian vegetable that is also commonly stuffed with minced meat.

Banana Peppers

It’s very important that your meat mixture is tender and not too dense. To achieve that you either have to add cubed bread or rice. For stuffed banana peppers, rice is the most common choice. The rice should be pre-cooked. Even if it would cook through while braising, you need to bear in mind that cooked rice expands quite a lot. There’s simply no space for it stuffed inside the banana pepper.

Sear the stuffed banana peppers to develop a nice crust

It’s important to sear the banana peppers on all sides to deepen the flavor. You don’t need to crank up the heat crazy high. They will darken further on the side that remains exposed in the oven.

Searing the stuffed banana peppers
Braising the stuffed banana peppers in the oven

The tomato sauce is simple. It’s just tomato paste and canned tomatoes with a bit of oregano. It’s important that you add the sugar to the sauce and eventually adjust the sugar content after braising. Some of the bitterness of the banana peppers will penetrate the sauce. You will need the sugar to balance the bitterness as well as the acidity of the tomatoes.

It’s best to serve these stuffed banana peppers with some more rice or bread on the side to soak up the excess sauce.

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