I remember at the turn of the century, I’m in the supermarket wanting to get some red bell peppers. But I see the price at $2.50 each which seems expensive and so pass them by, which is a shame because, like that old Iron Chef Host, I really love them. I decide I am going to grow my own and get them for free.
After going through all the hassle of obtaining plants, fertilizer, special dirt and the labour involved, my three plants yield 6 small misshapen peppers which don’t get red all the way. So I give up and decide to cut corners elsewhere.
I am thinking of this two days ago when I buy “reduced for quick sale” red peppers. I think they look very good despite being discounted and decide to make stuffed peppers.
I make them a little different than the usual stuffed peppers, but they are quite good groceries for all that, I assure you. No boring ground beef, nay, but a toothsome creamy rice filling that makes a mouth happy.
Look this over and see if you don’t think it’s a culinary delight for any night, a winner at any dinner and a side dish that’s delish.
Stuffed Peppers 6 servings
¼ cup of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup of short or medium grain rice (Not long grain)
½ cup sliced black olives
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of lemon juice
2 cups of chicken stock, or vegetable stock, simmering hot
1 cup of hot water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
6 red peppers, nicely shaped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium flame
Add the onions with a little salt and pepper and shake pan to distribute thoroughly
A minute later, stir the garlic in.
Add in the rice and stir for a minute or two, to coat it wholly
Now put the olives and lemon juice in and keep stirring until it starts to dry out.
Add a ladleful (1/2 cup) of simmering stock and stir well. Let it dry.
When stock is absorbed add another ladleful and stir well. Let it dry
Keep repeating this procedure until the stock is almost depleted. Taste a grain of rice for tenderness. If the rice at this point is still too firm and the stock is used up, add a ladleful of hot water, watch that the rice does not burn. The rice should be especially creamy, not runny or soupy. When done, add the cinnamon, walnuts, parsley, oregano and the mint, and taste for salt and pepper.
Remove from the stove and set aside covered.
In a large enough pot to hold 6 red peppers, bring a quart of water to the boil.
Fill a large bowl or pot with cold water and add ice to it.
While water is heating, rinse the peppers and remove the inedible parts of the tops. Now slice the peppers in half vertically (from top to bottom) scrape out the seeds and the white part of the ribs.
Blanche the peppers in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then plunge them into a bowl of ice-water.
Stuff the halves with the rice mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the rice mixture. Put the peppers in a shallow baking pan, or pans.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Or, you can microwave them (providing you are using microwave-appropriate equipment, like glass) for 8 to 10 minutes; in which case, only put the cheese on the peppers for the last minute.