Monday I really needed to make stuffed peppers. I have no idea what triggered this craving beyond the bag of beautiful peppers I bought at Braum's. The only recipe in my box was a vegetarian one from my newlywed days, combining brown rice and sesame seeds to make a complete protein. It mentions Diet for a Small Planet on the reverse side. I hauled out Joy of Cooking for more info, and then hit the internet.
Shifting between several recipes makes me dizzy, but the results were very satisfying:
4 beautiful, very large green bell peppers with tops, seeds, and membranes all removed. Rinse the seeds out. Have a big kettle boiling with enough water to submerge the peppers. Add a dash of salt. Push the peppers down into the boiling water and cook on MedHigh 6-7 minutes. Drain.
Cook 3/4 cup brown rice in 1 3/4 cups water according to pkg. directions. [Basically, bring them to boil, boil one minute, reduce heat and simmer covered 45-50 minutes.]
Brown ground meat (about the size of one patty) in a large, heavy skillet.* Drain grease or add oil to make about 1 T. Chop 3 stalks celery and mince 3 cloves garlic. Add to skillet with ground meat and stir 4-5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup sesame seeds. [That was the size of a bag for $1.29 in the Latino spices section at Albertsons. It was money well spent for flavor and texture. You could probably substitute sunflower kernels.] Stir the seeds and brown another 3-4 minutes. Add 3 chopped Roma tomatoes and 1/4 t basil, 1/4 t oregano, and 1 t parsley. Keep stirring. Add 1 T soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, plus a dash of red pepper flakes. Add water just to keep from burning, or some liquid from the can if you substitute canned tomatoes. Simmer until the rice is done.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the rice into the skillet, mixing well. Grease a 9x9 baking dish. Stand the peppers in it. Fill each pepper with the skillet mixture, and compress well. Cover the top of each pepper with grated cheese of your choice. Make a foil tent over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. One pepper is enough per person, so serves 4. Reheats well in the microwave, although you might want to add more cheese.
*Obviously I'm not a vegetarian, but this was plenty of meat to give flavor to the stuffing. The rice and sesame provide the protein for the meal. You could brown chopped onion instead of ground meat.
It was so delicious that I'm trying stuffed eggplant tonight.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder