Sunday, November 6, 2011
Harvest Recipe: Vegetarian (or not) Stuffed Pepper
I am going to be posting some recipes to help you use up that wonderful harvest of veggies you picked before the hard freeze. Today, it is vegetarian (or not) stuffed peppers. I grew a variety of bell peppers in pots this year and they did pretty well. My husband loves stuffed peppers, which are usually stuffed with browned meat or sausage and rice, with a tomato sauce topping. Here is how to make a good vegetarian version, though you can add the meat if you like.
4 red, yellow or green bell peppers, tops sliced off, stem removed (reserve tops) and remove seeds and membrane.
1.5 cups cooked rice- I used a mix of brown and wild rice, though white or leftover rice will do.
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery diced (optional)
5 or 6 button mushrooms chopped
1/2 t.each thyme, marjoram and celery seed (you can vary the spices- use Italian seasoning or curry power, chili powder-to taste instead- be creative!)
1/2 t garlic powder
grating of black pepper to taste
1.4 cup ch0pped, toasted walnuts
1/4 cup dried apples chopped (you can use another dried fruit, raisins, apricots, but we dehydrate lots of apples from our tree for winter eating, so we use that)
2 cups taco sauce, salsa or tomato sauce (you can use less if you prefer it drier)(I use taco sauce because I like it and I make and can my own).
Saute the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt until caramelized, remove from the pan and do the same with the mushrooms and celery (putting then all in the pan at once steams them versus caramelizes them). When browned, add herbs and spices and cook a few more minutes. Mix these vegetables with rice, walnuts and apples. Stuff as much as you can in the 4 bell peppers and replace the reserved tops on them. Place the peppers in an 9 by 9 or so baking dish, adding any extra rice stuffing to the bottom of the pan. Pour the taco or other tomato-based sauce over them. Cover with lightly with foil and place in a 375 degree over for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 10 more minutes until bubbly.
There are many variations: add sauteed shredded carrots, sauteed leek, shredded parsnip, gree peas, corn to the rice stuffing. Top with cheese in the last 10 minutes to melt.