Looking for an appetizer? This Japanese recipe is sure to be a hit!
Japanese Stuffed Bell Peppers
pi-man no niku zume
- 4 or 5 pieces of dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in ½ cup chicken broth
- 12 mini sweet bell peppers
- ⅓ pound ground round (beef)
- ¼ pound ground pork
- 1 egg
- 3 Tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- ½ small onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- all purpose flour
Soak the porcini in the chicken broth for about an hour. Squeeze the mushrooms and mince finely. Reserve the chicken broth.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, remove the stems and seeds. (Note: I’d blanch the peppers for a couple of minutes next time because Japanese peppers have much thinner skins, and these took a long time to cook.) Use a fine meshed sieve to sprinkle flour over the peppers: this helps to hold the meat in the pepper shells.
Add the egg, panko, salt and pepper, and minced mushrooms to a bowl and beat. Combine the pork and beef, and stir into the bowl. Mix vigorously so the meat becomes smooth and sticky. Add the onion and garlic. Mix heartily to combine: the meat should become a cohesive “lump.”
Spoon meat into the prepared peppers and press firmly. Each should be slightly overstuffed. Press flat: you don’t want the middle to be a thick hump which will take longer to cook than the edges.
Sprinkle with flour.
- 3 Tablespoons Saké
- 1 Tablespoon Mirin
- ½ Tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup reserved chicken broth from the porcini
- vegetable oil for frying
Combine the saké, mirin, sugar, and chicken broth in a measuring cup.
Heat a large skillet, add some cooking oil, and when it’s hot, place the peppers meat-side down. Cook on medium heat until the meat is browned. Turn each one over then sprinkle in a Tablespoon or two of water. Cover immediately. When the steam subsides, test to see if the meat is cooked. If not, repeat.
Pour the sauce into the skillet, and when it comes to a simmer begin removing the peppers to a warm plate. Stir to deglaze the pan. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken slightly, then pour the sauce over the peppers.
- Sichimi (Seven Flavor Chili powder)
- ½ cup mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup (optional)
Sprinkle with sichimi and serve.
Or put a half-teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce/ketchup condiment on each pepper.