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Crock-Pot® stuffed peppers are basically bell peppers that are hollowed, filled with stuffing, and cooked in a slow cooker. Cooks use any type of bell pepper and make the filling with or without meat. The peppers normally take about six hours to cook when on a proper slow cooker setting.
Many people enjoy stuffed peppers but might not have the time needed to prepare them using an oven or grill method. Slow cookers, more commonly referred to as Crock-Pots®, are convenient devices that allow chefs to prepare and cook meals that will require little or no attention during the cooking process. Crock-Pot® stuffed peppers offer a way to prepare a delicious meal using the convenience of a slow cooker.
Cooks typically make this recipe using green bell peppers, but red, yellow, and orange bells can be used also. Usually, stuffed peppers are made by either stuffing the whole, hollowed-out pepper or by slicing the pepper in half and filling each half. When making Crock-Pot® stuffed peppers, though, chefs recommend that the peppers be prepared whole rather than sliced. This will allow them to maintain their integrity and shape during cooking so that the stuffing will not spill out.
To ensure proper cooking, chefs make certain that all seeds and membranes are removed from the inside of the peppers, while the shell remains intact. In order to do this, people generally cut a circle around the stem and remove it, using a small knife or spoon to scoop out the interior of the pepper. The tops can be cleaned, saved, and placed on the pepper during cooking to help keep the stuffing in place and make for a nice presentation.
The stuffing used for Crock-Pot® stuffed peppers can contain meat or not. If ground beef is in the stuffing, it need not be browned first as it will cook thoroughly during the slow-cooking process. Most chefs recommend using a very lean ground beef, though, so as to avoid having the peppers become saturated with grease. Other meats, such a ground turkey, chicken, or pork, should be browned first to ensure proper cooking.
Many people prefer their stuffed peppers to be made with a rice-based filling. In that instance, the rice should be completely cooked before being added to the filling. Otherwise, the rice will not cook properly inside the peppers during the slow-cooking process.
When preparing Crock-Pot® stuffed peppers, most chefs place the peppers so that they do not touch the sides of the slow cooker. This is done so that the peppers do not stick to the sides of the pot. As they cook, the peppers become very tender and might easily rip when removed if the outer skin is stuck. Also, chefs avoid cooking Crock-Pot® stuffed peppers for longer than six hours so that the peppers won't become too soft and unable to maintain their structure when served.
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