We had a bit of a scare last night. Casey woke me up at 3:30 am, unable to find our dear sweet Lyla. The screen door to the balcony was open and she was no where in the house. Frantically, I looked over the edge of the balcony for sights I don’t even want to think of, but instead I heard her distinctive “where the hell is everyone?” meow. We found her, puffed up to double her size, on our downstairs neighbors porch. After much and continued worrying (plus one call to the 24 hour vet), we seem to be doing okay. Lyla is her joyous self, all her functions seem to be working, and she probably thinks she just went on the adventure of a lifetime. In fact, she’s currently supervising the writing of this post from her standard perch between keyboard and computer screen.
If you’ve had a similarly harrowing night, these stuffed peppers may help out. Hearty and comforting. Mostly healthy. Flavorful and packed with fresh veggies and herbs.
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 large handful (about 3/4 cup) of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 lbs ground sausage (meat of your turkey, chicken, pork)
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 2 tablespoons of goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup of shredded nutty flavored cheese, like a manchego or comte
- 4 large, stable (able to stand on their own) red bell peppers.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In large saute pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced red onions over medium to medium high heat. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Watch the onions, stirring them as they cook. Once the onions turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes in, turn the head to medium-low and allow the onions to cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid the onions browning.
Once the onions are cooked, add the carrots, zucchini, and garlic. Stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat. The garlic should begin to become fragrant and the zucchini and carrot should start to soften. A smaller dice on the carrot means that the carrots will cook faster. Taste the veggie mix at this point. What’s missing? Consider adding some shallot pepper, red pepper flakes, etc if desired. Allow to cook together for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan in a separate bowl. Set aside the bowl for later.
In the same sauté pan, cook the sausage of your choice. In the recipe above, I used wild boar sausage from a local shop. This recipe would also work well with mild or medium spicy pork sausage, or really any chicken or turkey sausage as well. If the sausage you use is spice, you should not need to add any additional flavoring. Cook until the sausage crisps up.
Add back the veggies. If desired, add a splash of white wine or water to help scrap the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in the pre-cooked brown rice. Mix together the veggie, sausage, and rice until well combined. Taste again for any additional flavors. I found the spice from the sausage, and the small amount of salt and pepper at the beginning, when combined with the caramelization and browned bits from the cooking, made for a tasty flavor. Turn off the heat, remove pan from the hot burner, and add in the crumbled goat cheese.
Next, prep your bell peppers. Rinse all the peppers thoroughly. Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of the peppers. Scrape out the insides with either a spoon or knife. In a deep rimmed backing dish, add in about 2 to 3 good glugs of olive oil. Yes, glug is an official type of measurement. Also add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon into each of the four bell peppers.
Spoon the rice and sausage mixture into each of the bell pepper cups. Top with the grated cheese, and place into the baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes. The skin of the bell peppers should start to soften, the cheese on top melt and bubble. The house will smell fantastic.
Serve whole bell peppers for a full dinner, or split in half to serve with additional items. Also makes wonderful lunch left overs. If you do have any additional rice filling mix, save that for lunch or an afternoon snack.