Friday, May 25, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 4 large bell peppers, bottom trimmed, cap end cut off and diced, and seeds removed
  • large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 links (about 8 ounces) turkey Italian sausage 
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tsp dried Greek or Turkish oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1. Start by cooking one cup of long-grain brown rice.
2. I don’t remember where I learned this trick of barely slicing off the bottom of the bell pepper to make a flat spot for the pepper to stand on, but I always do this now when I’m hollowing out the peppers.
3. Cut off a fairly generous amount of the stem end of the pepper, because you’ll be chopping that up to add to the stuffing mixture. Then remove seeds and stand the peppers up in a baking dish you’ve sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil. (A dish that’s close in size to the peppers will work best.)
4. Remove the stems, then chop up the pepper tops along with one large onion. I made this fairly small dice because I wanted it well-distributed in the rice.
5. Heat olive oil, then saute the peppers and onions for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to soften but aren’t browned.
6. Remove the peppers and onions, add a bit more olive oil, then squeeze the sausage out of the casings and saute until browned, breaking apart with the turner as you cook.
7. Add the onions and peppers back to the sausage, add dried spices and saute 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors.
8. Then mix in the cooked brown rice and Parmesan cheese and cook 1-2 minutes to warm the mixture.
9. Stuff the filling mixture into the peppers, pushing down with a spoon so the peppers are tightly stuffed. (A few years ago I stopped pre-cooking the peppers before stuffing, and now I prefer peppers that are stuffed raw.) If you have peppers that are smaller than I did, you might have a bit of filling left. You can bake it in a small ramekin along with the peppers. Cook the stuffed peppers at 375 F/190C for about 30 minutes.
10. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and put a generous pinch of grated mozzarella on top of each pepper. (The filling might have shrunk down a little, making it easy to add the cheese.)
11. Put peppers back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

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