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Unstuffed Peppers (IP)

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Ingredients:

2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes and their liquid
3 red, orange, and/or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1" squares
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Select the sauté setting on the Instant pot and heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion has softened and is translucent. Add the beef, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes and sauté, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon or spatula as it cooks, for about 8 minutes, until cooked through and no traces of pink remain.

While the beef is cooking, stir together the broth and tomato paste in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. You can use the back of the spoon to mash up the tomato paste against the side of the cup so it breaks up and mixes in more easily.

Once the beef has cooked through, sprinkle the rice over the top of it in an even layer. Pour the broth mixture over the rice, then spread out the diced tomatoes on top. Finally, sprinkle on the chopped bell peppers in an even layer.

Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Manual setting and set the cooking time for 8 minutes at high pressure.

Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then move the pressure release to Venting to release any remaining steam.

Open the pot and spoon the unstuffed peppers into individual bowls, making sure to dig down to the bottom of the pot so each person gets an equal amount of peppers, rice, and meat. Top with the cheese, if using, and serve.

My variations:

I use:
whatever sized onion I have on hand.
4 or more cloves of garlic
beef or bison, usually 24 oz
vegetable broth, not chicken broth
2 Tablespoons or more of tomato paste (sometimes the whole small can, just to use it up)

If using frozen (bagged) bell peppers from Trader Joes, I'll add the whole bag, frozen, to the top of the layers, then add 3 more minutes to the cooking time (11 minutes at high pressure), and reduce the broth by 1/4 cup. I use the frozen bell peppers to reduce the prep time.

I spend about 30-40 minutes with prep for this dish.

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