Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kalyn's Stuffed Green Peppers

True confession time:  I did not use turkey Italian Sausage. I used the full-fat version.  My excuse is that Jud did it.  I told him Italian sausage, and he did what any American would do.  I also discovered that I didn't have brown rice, so I used white rice instead.  Now I feel better.  This time I made it with peppers stuffed whole. Next time I will cut them horizontally and stuff them.  

Printable Recipe:

1 cup long-grain brown rice (She used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
4 large green peppers, bottom trimmed, cap end cut off and diced, and seeds removed.
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons olive oil for vegetables + 1 teaspoon  for the sausage
2 links turkey Sweet Italian Sausage (or other sausage of your choice. Use diced mushrooms instead for a vegetarian version)
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek or turkish oregano
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese for topping
Cook rice according to package directions, (Rice can be cooked ahead and used in the recipe later.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Trim bottom of bell peppers so they have a flat surface to stand on. Cut off a fairly generous amount of the stem end of peppers, then remove seeds. Place hollowed-out peppers in a baking dish that you've sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil. (A dish that's close in size to the peppers will work best.)  I prefer to pre-cook my peppers in a pot with a little water over the stove-top.  I also prefer to cut my peppers horizontally so there is more meat than pepper.

Remove stem part from the pepper caps and trim off any white membrane, then dice pepper caps and the onion into fairly small dice. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet, then saute diced pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes, until they are startging to soften but aren't browned. Remove pepper-onion mixture to a bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon more olive oil, then squeeze sausage out of the casing and cook until it's lightly browned, breaking apart with the back of the spoon.

Put onion-pepper mixture back into the pan with the sausage, add the dried spices, and saute 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Add cooked rice and Paremsan cheese. Season the mixture with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and cook just long enough to warm, about 1-2 minutes.

Stuff the filling mixture into the hollowed-out peppers, using a spoon to press the mixture down so it's tightly packed into the pepper shell. (A few years ago I stopped pre-cooking the peppers before stuffing, and now I prefers peppers that are stuffed raw.) Bake peppers for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and put a generous pinch of grated mozzarella on top of each pepper. Put peppers back into the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

You can freeze leftover peppers for a month, or two, although the frozen peppers will be a little softer in texture (but still very tasty.) She cuts them in 1/2 top-to-bottom before freezing and freezes two halves in a small baking dish with a snap-on lid.

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