Beef Pepperoni Peppers

This recipe can be used as a starter (one half pepper) or main course (two half peppers served with rice or pasta). Adjust accordingly. If you have smoked paprika, use that and use unsmoked bacon. The name comes from the fact that the inspiration for the flavour came from the ingredients in pepperoni sausage. The stuffing mix can be used in similar ways to bolognese, e.g. as a pasta sauce or lasagne filling, or as a replacement for the tomato sauce on pizza.
  • 4 slices smoked bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 heaped tsp paprika
  • 1 level tsp cayenne pepper
  • olive oil
  • 450g / 1lb lean beef mince
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 3 whole red peppers, destalked, deseeded and halved
  • cheddar cheese, to top
Put the first block of ingredients in a food processor and process util smooth. If you don't have a food processor, chop all the ingredients as finely as possible.
In a large pan, brown the mince in the olive oil with the beef stock cube, seasoning generously with black pepper. When browned, add the processed mixture and cook in for a minute, then add the tomato puree and red wine. Cook until very liquid remains.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F / Gas Mark 6. Place the half peppers, open side up, on a greased baking sheet or non-stick tray. Pack as much of the cooked beef mixture as is sensible into each half pepper and top each with grated cheddar cheese. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown.