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Stuffed Peppers - pre cooking peppers

I usually make my stuffed peppers by cooking them wrapped in foil for 15 in the oven to help soften them. I then stuff them with cooked stuffing (rice, pork, etc). I am wondering if microwaving the peppers will work just as well. I've also heard of people boiling them or steaming them for a couple minutes.

I know you can skip this step (my Mother never precooked the peppers), but I find the pepper is not done when filling is hot or the filling is overcooked and the pepper is done.

Does anyone steam/boil/microwave their peppers first? If so, for how long?

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  1. No precooking, but I usually have sauce one third of the way up.

    1 Reply

      No precooking and I went crockpot on this recipe a long time ago. Never had any issue with the peppers, the filling or the sauce using a crockpot.

    2. I always always blanch mine in boiling water, just to make sure. It's the skin that's the problem, and this generally solves it.

      2 Replies
      1. I always steam mine until the flesh begins to give a little then I plunge them in ice water.
        Then I stuff them but don't bake in a sauce.

        1. After I've cut off the tops and removed the seeds and membranes I put them, cut side down, in a glass baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for two minutes or so before stuffing.

          1. I strongly prefer them when they have been precooked. Strongly.

            1. Pre-boiled for me also.

              Wanted to pass along an observation. When I made these a few days ago, the recipe produced more stuffing than I had peppers to put it in. I simply put some roasted peppers (from a jar in the pantry) on top of the extra stuffing on a plate and it worked just as well--perhaps even better!

              1. I put the meat/rice filling in raw peppers, put the peppers in a baking dish, add tomato sauce, cover them with foil, and bake them covered for an hour then take the foil off to finish them. This cooks the peppers.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Querencia

                  One hour is a very long time to cook stuffing that is already cooked. That is why I precook the peppers.

                  1. re: michaeljc70

                    My filling is raw meat and has raw egg in it. I've never used a cooked filling. But I see your point.

                2. My mother never precooked the peppers and that is why I grew up hating stuffed peppers. Possibly also because the stuffed them with leftover spagetti!

                  1. i have always found with green bell peppers, they are good without precooking. but with stuffed red peppers, maybe because they are more mature, the skin seems too tough. but also, the only times i ever green stuffed peppers, they are hungarian style like my mom used to make, and with red peppers they always seem more italian. (not saying either version is authentic cuisine from each country.)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: charles_sills

                      If you want to avoid precooking them, you can cut the peppers in half through the core. This results in 2 flatter halves. You won't fit as much stuffing, but they will cook faster. A lot of times peppers are too big and people complain it is too much for one person and this is a good way around that.

                    2. no pre cooking here. I've dabbled in cooking/not cooking various parts of the stuffed peppers, this is a version that you could serve baba with pride:

                      Raw meat
                      cooked rice
                      raw peppers (the best ones are the green ones w splotches of yellow/red)
                      Sauce is hot
                      peppers braise for 45min-1hr.

                      served with mashed potatoes and rye bread (with caraway seeds)

                      1. I don't pre-cook the peppers or the rice.BUT, what I do to ensure the rice will cook through is rinse or "wash" the rice,so it is moist, when it goes in the stuffing. I pour tomato sauce about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the peppers and simmer them on low for about 90-120 minutes. Never, ever any complaints!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                          I cook mine only 15-20 minutes to heat everything through.

                          If you don't brown the meat, you lose out on that flavor (it won't brown inside a pepper).

                          If you don't cook the rice, I'm not sure how that cooks.

                          I don't use tomato sauce either. I guess we are making different types of peppers. My Mother and Grandma always used Green peppers and baked them forever. They were soft and mushy. I don't like my veggies that way.

                          1. re: michaeljc70

                            I make a traditional Hungarian stuffed pepper recipe. We visited Hungary this past summer and was pleased to see that many of the recipes my Mom & Grandma passed on were absolutely authentic to the real cuisine. It does sound like we are making completely different types of foodstuff.

                            1. re: michaeljc70

                              totally depends on the type of pepper and what's inside, doesn't it?

                              i despise green bell peppers so never use them for anything. unripe, foul.

                              if i am stuffing red bells, i roast them first, while cooking the filling. meat, herbs, rice, etc. peel the peppers and stuff, then i just need to warm them in the oven.

                              smaller peppers i do in a similar way. i never cook any of these "in" a sauce.

                          2. About a four minute dip in boiling water should do you just right.

                            1. I think it comes down to two things:
                              How do you like the final texture of your peppers and do you want them with or without skins.

                              Like many above I use raw peppers, cooked rice, raw meat, raw eggs and other ingredients, stuff and then cover with homemade heated sauce of choice and baked and covered in foil in a baking pan until the end where foil is removed to crunch things up.
                              I like a firm yet pliable sidewall of the pepper once done and the rawness and overpowering flavor of the pepper cooked out for the most part.

                              I'm not a big fan of mushy peppers and in many cases par cooking them leads to that I have found over the years.
                              Obviously, if you don't like the skins some type of blanch or roasting is necessary.

                              I do stuffed poblanos the same way as green peppers and the skins are a non-issue with me.

                              I'd rather bake the peppers a bit longer to get the softness I desire as the stuffing is so moist and recalcitrant and forgiving that I have never ended up with overcooked or mushy rice or dry meat since the sauce adds the moisture to keep things in check over my many many years of making them.

                              Good luck.

                              If you don't brown the meat, you lose out on that flavor (it won't brown inside a pepper)

                              Gound meat will cook in the peppers and turn brown (or at least ground beef will-ground chicken, turkey and pork turn white when done), but you will not get the crispy fond style finish as if done in a skillet, grill or flat top. But yes, it will cook thru and be safe to eat.

                              1. I am steaming my stuffed red bell peppers in a double "pasta" boiler, I will then brown the tops in the oven a little watching them, I also cooked the rice first then mixed the ground chicken a little in a skillet with all my spices, some of the red pepper, chopped elephant garlic, half a shallot, with butter, garlic powder, salt & pepper, I also put one egg in the ground chicken mixture. They are in now, first on high with water in the bottom of the double boiler, and they are getting so nice and soft woo hoo, took about a half hour or more.