Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stuffed Peppers--On the Wild Side

Recently, while going through my recipes, thinking what I should cook next and share on my blog, I discovered that the most popular vegetables in my own notebook are not tomatoes--as I expected--but peppers.

Peppers are extremely fragrant and can enrich or be turned into practically any dish. Tropical cuisines tend to use the spicy varieties of pepper, the cold-climate ones, including from the Central Europe, rather have sweet peppers on their menus. I have written down multiple dishes in all categories based on pepper--pastas, tarts, entrées, soups, and salads. I even have several recipes on how to preserve peppers.

All my childhood I was eating peppers either raw, for instance in sandwiches, or stuffed and baked with meats. I also ate a lot of them in a Hungarian lecsó dish---which became very popular in Poland when meat was in short supply--similar to ratatouille, which is made with peppers cooked with tomatoes and squash as main ingredients.

Later, when I started to travel, I became familiar with roasted peppers and ate them in soups, quiches, and various side dishes. As I have plenty to share on the subject of this versatile vegetable, I will certainly return to it in the near future.

But today I have made something rather well known--stuffed roasted peppers. The only innovation in that recipe was the choice of rice. For the first time I made them with wild rice to change the texture of the stuffing and add some nutritious value to it. I think that this experiment produced encouraging results, although the stuffing became much more firm than when made with white rice as prescribed in traditional recipes.

For that reason it is important to use ground meat that is not too lean, as lean meat would additionally harden the stuffing. I would say that, for this particular recipe, beef of chicken can be too lean. All in all, I think that this recipe is worth trying--peppers stuffed with wild rice have beautiful presentation, great taste, and much more value as wild rice is more reach in minerals and vitamins than white rice.

Peppers Stuffed with Wild Rice

6 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers,
1 medium onion,
1 pound ground pork or lamb,
1 cup wild rice,
1/2 cup Italian cheese mix,
2 tbsp oil,
3 tbsp butter,
1 tbsp of any herb mix (can be any grill seasoning),
salt (about 1 tsp) and pepper.

1. Cook wild rice in salted water according to the instruction on the box and cool it down.
2. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Peel onion, cut into small cubes and fry in oil, just so it is not raw.
3. Put the meat in a bowl, add rice, onion, spices and working with a hand make a smooth stuffing.
4. At the end add cheese and gently incorporate it into the meat stuffing.
5. Cut off pepper tops and remove the seeds.
6. Fill up the peppers with the stuffing and put the pepper tops back on.

7. In a heat-proof dish put a little bit of water and butter, and place all the peppers.
8. Cover with the aluminum foil and bake for about 45-60 min. You can remove the foil after about 40 minutes and let the pepper tops become gold.

Serve with green salad as accompaniment and, if you wish, a baguette.


petite nyonya said...

your photography of the yellow peppers is lovely!

Susan said...

I love this - so FALL! I cannot wait to try!

Enjoyed your blog!