2cupsextra-sharp cheddar cheesefor stuffing and topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare rice according to package instructions and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, brown hamburger with chopped onions and herbs and spices, until cooked through, over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess grease from the hamburger mixture, return to the heat and add tomato sauce, water, and rice to the hamburger mixture. Simmer over low heat, until warmed through, taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. – Be careful to stir often to ensure the rice does not stick.
Bring a pot of water, with enough water inside to submerge the peppers, to a boil. Cut the tops off the peppers, as if you were carving into a pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and membranes and discard. Carefully place the prepared peppers into the boiling water. Boil for approximately 5 minutes. – Make sure they are completely submerged, they tend to float if the water does not enter the cavity of the pepper.
Carefully remove the peppers from the water and allow them to drain.
Place some cheese into the bottom of each pepper, if desired. Ladle the stuffing mixture into the peppers and place them inside a Dutch oven with a lid or deep baking dish. Cover with the lid or foil and place into the preheated oven. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Top with cheese and melt during the last five minutes of baking, if desired.
Allow them to cool about 10 minutes before serving.
If the peppers won't stand up, use wadded up foil rings to sit the peppers down inside, so that they do not spill over.Allow any extra stuffing to cool, then freeze for up to 6 months.
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