Red Peppers Stuffed with Beef & Barley; houseboat in the locks

It’s stuffed vegetable season!

I love stuffed vegetables: onions, peppers, squashes, mushrooms, tomatoes. I fix them often in the fall .

Since most vegetables need to be done in the oven I need to wait until the weather is cool enough.

2 weeks ago it was 35C (95F); last week it was 30C (86F); today is 12C (54F). Apparently we’re going from summer to winter without pausing at fall.

Why not? We skipped spring…. might as well be a 2-season year. It seems somehow appropriate for 2020.

So – bright side and all, we have a lovely fire in the fireplace and stuffed vegetables for dinner!

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Red Peppers Stuffed with Beef & Barley

We love stuffed peppers. I used all red but use whatever color looks best. Try to get 4-sided peppers as they ‘sit’ best for stuffing.

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: One Dish Dinners


  • 12oz (360gr) ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup (8oz, 250ml) tomato sauce
  • 3 medium – large red bell peppers, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup (2.8oz, 80gr) quick-cooking barley
  • 1 cup (8oz, 250ml) beef stock
  • 3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) shredded cheese


  • Cook barley in beef stock until done. 
  • Put a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil.
  • When water is boiling drop peppers in and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove, drain, and put into a baking dish.
  • In skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. 
  • Add garlic, celery and onion and sauté until transparent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add chili powder and sauté 1 minute longer.
  • Add beef and sauté until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Add tomato sauce, oregano, vinegar, soy sauce and stir well.
  • When barley is done, add to beef and stir to combine.
  • Spoon into the pepper halves, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 400F (200C).
  • Remove foil, top with cheese, and bake, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. 
  • Remove and serve.


Quick-cooking barley cooks in about 15 minutes. Substitute small pasta (orzo) if you can’t get the barley. It is different than pearl barley.
If not all of the beef and barley fit in the peppers, keep warm and serve on the side.

Keywords: stuffed peppers, stuffed vegetables, peppers

Red Peppers, with Beef & Barley

On our last bike ride the canal was the busiest we’ve seen it all summer. This was the first time we’ve seen one of the ‘house boats’ on the move.

Naturally, we had to stop and watch:

It had only been in the lock a few minutes when we got there. That is the ‘lock house’ on the other side. Before automation someone would have been living there to tend the lock for the boaters. Now they are mostly empty.

We weren’t the only bikers that stopped to watch.

The locks fill up surprisingly fast.

This is the other end of the boat. It’s one of the bigger ones on the canal. The living quarters are all inside this section (I think). There are windows – it just hadn’t come up high enough at this point to see them.

Almost ready to go through….

And they’re off!

Exciting times…..

7 thoughts on “Red Peppers Stuffed with Beef & Barley; houseboat in the locks”

  1. I will absolutely eat this without the peppers. Maybe I’ll stuff tomatoes with it instead. 🙂

    Do the houseboats leave for the season? Where do they go? I’m not sure I’d like living like that. Too claustrophobic for me, but I’d love to live in one of those empty lock keeper’s houses.

    • Stuffed tomatoes would be good – or summer squash. I’d love one of those lock-keeper’s houses, too, Such a pretty setting, and (usually) no flooding.

    • I don’t think so. There is plenty of room in the boat as the ceiling are quite high inside. Some of them will slide to open up to the sun. It’s was hard to tell on this one. Once it got high enough there were lots of windows so we could see the interior. Looked quite nice!

  2. The mozzarella is missing from the ingredients list. I’m currently making these with green peppers and farro (spelt). I haven’t got any mozzarella, so will use a dab of cream cheese.

    • Actually, that is a great idea – but, I must confess, the mozzarella was an error. I often copy the instructions from a different recipe to give myself a head start on the typing and I missed that. Sorry about the confusion.
      But great idea with the cream cheese!

      • I wondered if it was a copy/paste error. But anyway the cream cheese worked well. I thought the dish was rather tasty and would make it again. I like the texture of the grain in the stuffing and it was very savoury. A good one for prepping in advance. I’ve frozen two stuffed peppers, so we’ll see how they emerge in due course.

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