This more complex recipe for stuffed peppers is a great meal idea for late summer and early fall. The recipe can be easily modified, however, to simplify the effort in the kitchen. Simply cut out all the optional ingredients in the list, and keep the seasoning as plain as you'd like.
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. tomato paste
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground beef OR 1 lb. ground pork
1 cup cooked rice
¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), divided
4 medium or 6 small bell peppers, any color
4 cups tomato juice (100% juice) (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until translucent and starting to brown, 10–15 minutes. Add walnuts, garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until combined and garlic is softened, 2–3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until just slightly reduced, 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix beef, pork, and remaining 1 tsp. salt with your hands in a large bowl. Fold in rice, raisins, and ¼ cup cheese with a wooden spoon and mix well to combine. Add onion mixture and mix with wooden spoon until incorporated.
Carefully cut off bottom bumps of bell peppers to create a flat end so they can stand upright. Don’t shave off too much or the filling can leak out. Using a spoon, stuff peppers with meat mixture and fill to the top. Press down and pack pepper fully.
Arrange peppers in a small Dutch oven or baking dish. Pour tomato juice around them, leaving about 1" of pepper exposed.
Top stuffed peppers with remaining ¼ cup cheese; season with pepper. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and continue to bake until peppers are tender and cheese is browned, about 30 minutes more.
Do Ahead: Stuffed peppers can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Reheat in a 350° oven, covered, until heated through, about 20 minutes.