Slovak Stuffed Peppers (with cooking poems)
Instead of being baked, Slovak stuffed peppers are stewed in a rich tomato sauce for a juicy flavour-packed meal.
To be honest, getting food on the table day after day can get to be a bit of a drag. And have you seen the amount of food kids can consume? I remember when my brother was a teen, I swear pans of cookies just got inhaled.
It’s certainly a luxury to be able to complain about the burden of cooking though. In the not so distant past, Slovaks had a handful of meals they cooked over again and were glad for it, as most of them knew the gnaw of hunger. And we know that in various parts of the world, people are starving.
But still…what am I going to cook for dinner tonight? I now marvel that my mother laid out a feast for us every evening, although as a child I didn’t think anything of it. I do remember, however, on one occasion my father went back to Japan for a visit and we ate a lot of eggs and toast (my father can’t eat many eggs).
A friend recently wrote a poem on Facebook to share her conundrum of shopping vs. putting crazy ingredients together, and it prompted a number of humorous responses with impressive poetry writing skills.
The Tuesday That Already Feels like a Long Week: A Suburban Poem
by Meghan Barylak
I do not wish to shop
Though I am running out of things
To do with rice.
Jasmine rice, frozen peas, concord jelly–
Culinary rock bottom?
by Erin Lenberg
Granola bar wrapper
One foot northwest of the trash can
Who left you there?
Who opened you up, crinkling and shining
Ate your granola and
Mini chips and
I thought I had enough granola bars stocked up
Enough for the week’s school snacks
Only rejected flavors remain
Lightning McQueen cookies ‘n’ cream
I need to go to Target
To my husband
by Kate Cousino
(Kate writes a thought provoking blog at Peace and Pekoe)
The casserole you prepared for yesterday
is still in the fridge
It was forgotten last night.
While I struggled to find
the right words
in the right order
your children ate peanut butter
rolled up in tortillas
or feasted on Sunday’s
But at least there will be
If I can manage
more than one thing
in my head.
Follow your dreams
by Maic D’Agostino
To often I’ve convinced
Children that a meal
Can be anything the cupboard
Saltines, nutella, cheerios.
Maybe that’s why
Their stomachs look confused
When I say they should
Always follow their dreams.
Eating on my own
by Naomi Huzovicova
Even though I write a blog
With beautiful food to tempt,
When I’m on my own
it’s sardines and rice –
rice from last week I think.
I like cooking. I like food. I like eating. But my to-do list is so long that if I’m eating by myself I just pull out the last dredges of leftovers. At most, I’ll fry an egg. For me, I enjoy cooking to bring people together over the table and nourish my family. I recently spent two days prepping and cooking a Canadian Thanksgiving meal to share with neighbours, and I enjoyed it. But if it’s just me…sardines are a great source of calcium, right?
If you need an idea for tonight’s dinner, try Slovak stuffed peppers. Instead of baking, the meat-and-rice stuffed peppers are stewed in tomato sauce, which results in a juicy and flavourful meal.
Because Slovaks grow banana peppers, this recipe calls for banana peppers but you can also use fewer bell peppers. Although you can even skip the peppers. My husband says that his mother always reserved some of the meat mixture to make balls, as some people (picky kids) will prefer them that way.
Slovak Stuffed Peppers
Slovak stuffed peppers are filled with ground meat and rice, and then stewed in a smooth tomato sauce for a juicy and flavourful meal.
- 200 grams (1 cup) short-grain rice
- 500 grams (17.5 oz) ground pork (or any other meat)
- 1 small onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 egg
- 8 banana peppers (or other pepper)
- 2 tablespoons lard or other oil
- 4 tablespoons flour (or other thickener) For gluten-free or paleo alternatives, you can use instead 4 teaspoons cornstarch, arrowroot, or potato starch; 1 tbsp + 2 tsp tapioca flour; or 4 tbsp rice flour or general GF flour mix
- 500 grams (2 cups) tomato puree
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vegeta (optional)
Cook short grain rice according to instructions. I rinse off the rice, add 1 1/4 cup water and bring it to a simmer in a pot over a medium flame with the lid off. I then give it a stir, put on the lid and put it over a very low flame for about 25 minutes. Or something like that, because I always forget the time.
While the rice is cooling, chop the small onion into small pieces and mix with ground meat, salt, pepper, marjoram, and egg. Add in the mostly cooled (or leftover) rice and combine. This is easiest to do with your hands.
Stuff the meat mixture into peppers, pressing with your fingers, or form the mixture into large balls.
To prepare the tomato sauce, put the lard or other fat into a pot on low heat. When melted, sprinkle in the flour or flour alternative and stir. For flour, rice flour and GF blend, stir until the flour starts getting golden. Add the tomato puree, salt, and bay leaf. Vegeta is a general vegetable flavouring in common use here and is optional if you do not have it.
Lay the stuffed peppers and meat balls into the tomato sauce. Add enough water so that the sauce covers the peppers and meat balls. Bring to a simmer for about 40 minutes, until the skin of the peppers is wrinkly.
Serve a stuffed pepper with tomato sauce poured over top. Some people add knedle, steamed bread, because it's great at sopping up the sauce. Add a side of boiled potatoes, bread, or pasta if you desire, but I prefer it plain.
Oct 16, 2017 @ 23:55:57
Naomi, I am big fans your blog.
Thanks for your recipes
Oct 17, 2017 @ 13:24:00
Glad you like it!
Oct 17, 2017 @ 02:04:37
The poems are cute! We unfortunately don’t eat many meals together these days as we have such varying schedules in our household (not to mention that the grandson is an EXTREMELY picky eater). And the kicker is, I love to cook! I do cook on my days off, and the kids absolutely love it (except the grandson, LOL). Winter will soon be upon us, so, I will get back into the swing of things as casseroles, soups, stews, etc. are better appreciated in the cooler weather. They are also easier to prepare ahead of time and taste better the next day anyhow!
Oct 17, 2017 @ 13:23:34
Winter cooking is so much easier to do in advance! And time does help all the flavours to meld.
Picky eaters are hard – on the one hand I don’t want to give in to them but on the other hand they still need to eat something. Extreme picky eating can be influenced by gut issues as well, making it complicated. Good luck!
Oct 17, 2017 @ 03:16:19
Funny post. I do a lot of planned leftovers so I don’t have to come up with something every night so that takes some of the stress off. The peppers sound tasty but my husband can’t eat them, so maybe I’ll try it as stuffed cabbage.
I just spent the last hour reading your blogs for the past few months. For some reason I hadn’t received any since the beginning of June. I thought you were taking the summer off–but you’ve been out hiking all over Slovakia! Lots of great stories and pics.
Oct 17, 2017 @ 13:19:19
My kids like it as just balls in the tomato sauce too.
If you clicked that you were just interested in real food, then you might not get notifications about Slovakia. Glad you liked the posts!
Oct 17, 2017 @ 13:20:38
Just one more suggestion. Steam the peppers, when I bake them, quite unevenly done, uncooked the green ones don’t taste nice, but it is a huge taste difference, banana peppers v bell ones…anyway that’s the Slovak coming out of me, if only bell peppers available, enjoy…The meat balls accompany my plate when I run out of peppers…
Love cooking. Not a chore, but one must have an appreciative audience to cook for…Can’t measure with my grandma. Typical Slovak woman, hoarding from flour, to tea bags, and the rest. She always used to say: “You never know, when we get invaded? So, eat up as it were your last dish…”So bring it on Mr Putin, or Mr Kim…I am ready…
Actually must confess this bit of my character I inherited after her, but NOT chasing me with a wobbly belly pork on the fork or throwing another schnitzel on anybody’s plate, once near enough finished the first one…How I miss that…
That’s the Slovak hospitality for you! and she used to be a corpulent lady!
Oct 19, 2017 @ 13:19:03
“You never know when we get invaded”, that is Slovak history for you. I remember one of my first hospitality mistakes, I didn’t pour wine to all the great aunts and uncles when they said they didn’t want any 🙂
Oct 18, 2017 @ 15:21:17
Completely forgot about the weather here…Memorable (for Irish) for storms, floods, so enjoy the Slovak Indian summer. They should rename it the Indian hell, any ideas what Indians got to do with it?
Nancy in Alberta
Oct 24, 2017 @ 09:00:35
I’m not sure when you revamped your blog header!? I really like it (the swirly banana).
What a funny post! I even enjoyed the comments. It makes a nice change from strictly food..and your tone about plenty and poverty is, as always, so kind.
Oct 26, 2017 @ 17:40:44
Hmmm…I wonder what you saw before because I haven’t ramped the header at all! Glad you enjoyed the humour 🙂 I’m always happy to read funny poetry.
Oct 30, 2017 @ 05:27:00
“his mother always reserved some of the meat mixture to make balls, as some people (picky kids) will prefer them that way.”
Picky adults, too…
Oct 30, 2017 @ 16:12:37
Haha, yes 🙂
Nov 07, 2017 @ 08:32:08
This is how my Slovak-descent grandmothers made this dish…I always preferred the meatballs, LOL, as a kid. It was stewed in tomato sauce, using green peppers, because the banana peppers weren’t readily available years ago like they are now. I didn’t realize that the banana peppers are what Slovaks grow; I actually prefer these to the standard green peppers so popular in the US. Glad to know that the traditional Slovak recipe uses the type of pepper I prefer! Thanks for the great post! (Liked the poems, too!)
Nov 09, 2017 @ 15:04:11
I occasionally see bell peppers in gardens here (did you know green ones are just unripe red ones?) but mostly banana peppers. The flesh is a little thinner, I think, and milder. All my kids prefer the meatballs, haha.