Friday was one of those days when the weather had changed and I wanted something warming, simple and tasty. Then out of the blue, I decided to buy some peppers and see what I could come up with.
It turned out to be stuffed peppers. Duh! This is not much of a recipe but a basic family style dish that can be adapted to your mood and whatever you have on hand. I loved stuffed peppers when I was a kid. My mom’s were very plain. They had ground pork or beef mixed with cooked rice, some onion and tomato sauce, a little parsley and if she was feeling creative, ‘Italian seasoning’ .
Here’s my basic version with extra suggestions. This made four very big stuffed peppers. I took photos but the result was grim. Tried again at lunch time the next day, only two peppers left and not the loveliest. In the end, I decided you’d rather look at some pretty peppers-but you can see my photo fail at the end of this post.
What you need:
Note: nothing is exact here!
4 large bell peppers
1 cup brown rice
1 onion chopped
300 grams (a little more than a quarter of a pound) sliced or chopped mushrooms
a small handful of pine nuts (or what you can afford-these babies are pricey!!!)
5 re hydrated sun dried tomatoes
1 soup spoon full of sun dried (or plain) tomato paste
handful of grated Parmesan cheese
small handful of chopped fresh parsley
salt, pepper, thyme to taste and a little oil for the pan
Cook the rice and set aside. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toast the pine nuts in an ungreased frying pan. Keep an eye on them. If you turn your back and start smelling something like popcorn, you’ve burned them. Experience talking here! When they’re done, throw them on top of the rice.
Now add a little oil to the frying pan, saute the onions until translucent and add the mushrooms. Stir frequently and cook until the mushrooms are limp. Chuck this on top of the rice too. Cut up the sun dried tomatoes (scissors work well) and add to the rest of the stuff. Add the Parmesan. Put the tomato paste in a little dish and add about half a cup of water. Mix that up and I think you can guess what to do next. Stir everything around and add salt, pepper and thyme. Taste and adjust. You might want more tomato sauce or more cheese etc. Just suit yourself.
Cut the tops off the peppers. Carefully slice off the…. I don’t know the proper name for it but its on the other side of the stem and holds all the seeds. Remove any large pithy ribs that might be inside the peppers. Now stuff the peppers with the rice filling and pop the tops back on.
Stand the peppers upright in a baking dish. Add water to come up about one and a half centimeters or about half an inch. Bake for forty-five minutes. If you like the peppers very soft make it an hour.
Variations and other additions: I only add cooked ingredients
-ground poultry or meat, shrimp
-instead of brown rice, use white or basmati, couscous, quinoa, pasta
Mac and cheese stuffed peppers: I would add lots of green olives, you like some crispy bacon
Tex Mex-add jalapenos, coriander pimento stuffed olives, a little cumin, oregano and top it off with some melty cheese -cook the pepper tops at the side and use to make your plate pretty
Middle Eastern-use bulghour or couscous, lots of parsley, lemon juice, pine nuts, diced fresh tomato
Greek- use white rice,dill, capers, sliced spring onion, leave out the tomato sauce and mix in chopped spinach and top with feta.As you see, it’s all up to you.
Happy peppering!!!! Jan