5-Spice Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed vegetables are a tradition at Sukkot, symbolizing the hope for plenty during the harvest. Photographs by Liza Schoenfein

Yields 8 stuffed peppers

½ onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between your palms
½ teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice Powder
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 ¼ cup marinara sauce, divided
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
1 egg, beaten
6-8 medium bell peppers, preferably a variety of colors, tops cut off (and reserved) and seeds removed
Fresh mint and/or parsley for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 400˚ F.

2) In a 12-inch skillet, sauté the onion in oil for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add the beef, sprinkle it with salt, pepper, oregano and Chinese 5-Spice, and cook, stirring, until the meat is no longer pink.

3) Drain meat in a colander to remove excess fat and then return to skillet. Stir in toasted pine nuts, rice, ½ cup of the marinara and egg. (Don’t add the egg until the pan has cooled down a bit.)

4) Add ¼ cup water to remaining ¾ cup marinara, pour into a shallow baking dish and arrange peppers on top. Spoon beef mixture into peppers, cover each with its top and bake 45 minutes. To serve, uncover each pepper, spoon some of the marinara on top, sprinkle with fresh herbs and replace the top loosely.

Liza Schoenfein is the new food editor of the Forward. Contact her at schoenfein@forward.com.

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