When I was growing up in Cincinnati’s East End, our German neighbors enjoyed something called a “Stuffed Mango”. Most families made their own, but the Stuffed Mango was also available in the small groceries and delicatessens in the area. I was in high school before I realized the “mango” was a green bell pepper.
In the 1980s when my husband and I lived in a spot called Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, we had a huge garden and a lot of green bell peppers. My German husband recalled the old stuffed mango with fondness and before the days of the internet search, I tried to find a recipe. I wound up combining several sources, including The Ball Blue Book of 1943 and a wonderful 1983 cookbook by Mary Anna DuSablon, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury*. It wasn’t a difficult process to make the peppers but it did stretch over two days, all of the work being worthwhile when my husband tasted the mango and loved it.
I haven’t made the peppers for many years, but decided to reduce the recipe considerably and make just two which are not processed and are kept in the refrigerator. They should be used within a week or so of their two-week curing period. Here is the recipe for two German Stuffed Mangoes.
GERMAN STUFFED MANGO (Green Pepper)
- 2 medium/large green bell peppers
- 2 Tblsp. pickling salt
- Cold water to cover
- 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
- 1/2 tsp. pickling salt
- 1/4 tsp. celery seed
- 1-1/2 Tblsp. mustard seed
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Slice off the stem ends of peppers, cutting down about 3/4″ from top, reserve tops. Core and seed peppers. In each of two one-quart containers (Cool Whip containers work well), place 1 Tblsp. salt plus about half a container of cold water, stirring to dissolve salt. Add one pepper and its top to each container. Pour enough cold water over the peppers and their tops to cover. Weigh down with something like a small custard cup to be sure peppers remain submerged. Let stand on counter overnight.
The next morning, drain and rinse the peppers and tops in cold water, then set on a rack to drain.
In a large bowl place the chopped cabbage and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of pickling salt. Stir and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, covered with a clean, dry towel.
After 3 hours, add celery seed and mustard seed to the cabbage. Stuff this mixture into each of the peppers, place the tops on and fasten shut by wrapping each pepper and top several times around with white cotton string.
In a medium pan bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and immediately place the peppers in the brine, using a slotted spoon. Allow to cool until lukewarm, occasionally spooning brine over the peppers. Then, carefully remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place in a refrigerator container. Pour the brine over the peppers, cover and refrigerate.
Peppers should be allowed to cure in the refrigerator for two weeks.
When ready to serve, remove the pepper from the brine and cut the string. Remove the top and slice the pepper in half.
Serve with sandwiches or as a relish/pickle with meals.
Both the slaw and the pickled pepper itself are very tasty. One-fourth of a large stuffed pepper is enough for me but my husband used to easily eat a whole pepper and the little bits around the top stem along with a couple of grilled bratwursts.
*This book, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury, is a great look at “The Queen City’s Culinary Heritage” which includes a lot of German recipes, but also Italian, Greek, French and other ethnic food, as well as southern dishes (Cincinnati is right across the river from Kentucky). There are also some wonderful sketches of Cincinnati landmarks. I haven’t seen the book in local stores lately but it occasionally shows up on eBay.