February 2018 | The Honest Spoon

Currently Playing: Piece of My Heart, Janis Joplin

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When I set out to make dinner the other night, I wasn't planning on anything significant. I just needed to do something with the ground beef I had in the refrigerator. I also wasn't in the mood for my usual go-to recipes involving ground beef. So, I when ahead and started browning the beef in a skillet and hoped for the best. What started out as an unknown ended up being so good I just HAD TO share it with you. For the most part, you can sub out ingredients to your own preference but I suggest you keep the fennel seeds and pine nuts. These two items make the dish AWESOME for both flavor and texture. I do use Sicilian fennel seeds simply because I prefer their flavor. 

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Start by browning the ground beef, in a large skillet, and draining off any excess fat. Season with Salt and Pepper. Set this aside in a separate mixing bowl. Then, adding just a drizzle of olive oil to the same skillet, add diced pancetta (I get mine from Trader Joes). Once the pancetta is browned, add the ground beef back to the pan and mix the two together. Push to one side and add a drizzle of olive oil. Sautee the shallots, garlic, and fennel seeds and saute until the shallots begin to become clear. Do not brown the garlic. Mix into the beef mixture and move the mixture to the side of the pan. Add a touch of olive oil and add the diced mushrooms and roasted bell pepper. Saute and mix into the beef mixture, set aside. Turn off the heat! the Sautee portion is over! Now add one shredded carrot, one shredded zucchini, and pine nuts to the beef mixture. At this point, you will need to salt and pepper to taste.

If I am being honest, I almost ate half of it straight out of the bowl. Truly, if you want to add this mixture to some lettuce cups and skip the bell pepper stuffing YOU CAN. You can also just eat it as is. You won't be disappointed! It's THAT GOOD!! Now, to prep for your bell peppers, you will add one egg, 1/4 tapioca flour, and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the beef mixture. Mix well and add about 1/2 cup of the beef mixture to halved and deseeded bell peppers. The amount of beef mixture will vary based on the size of your bell peppers. 



| Makes 6 stuffed peppers |


  • 3 large bell peppers
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained of excess fat
  • 1/4- 1/2 Cup diced pancetta
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot. diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
  • 1 Cup diced crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 Cup diced roasted bell pepper
  • I carrot, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt & pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse, Halve, and de-seed bell peppers. Set aside.

2. Brown ground beef in a large nonstick skillet.  Drain off excess fat, season with salt & pepper and set aside in a  large mixing bowl. 

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non stick skillet on low/ medium heat. Add pancetta and brown it. Add the cooked beef back into the skillet and mix with pancetta. Push to side of skillet.

4. Add 1 tablespoon oil to empty side of skillet. Add fennel, shallot, and garlic. Saute until shallot just starts to turn clear. do not brown garlic. Add into beef mixture and push to side of skillet.

5. Add last tablespoon of olive oil. Saute mushroom and bell pepper until mushroom started to soften, Add into beef mixture and turn off heat. 

6. Add carrot, zucchini, and pine nuts. Stir into beef mixture and transfer into mixing bowl and let cool for a few minutes. Add egg, tapioca flour, and tomato paste. Mix well.

7.  Spray 9x9 pan with cooking spray. 

8. Stuff the halved bell peppers with about 1/2 cup beef mixture. Place bell peppers into pan so they are closely situated. 

9. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Lest rest for 10 minutes before eating.

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