Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers
There were some really nice looking bell peppers on sale at the market, so that night's dinner was inspired by them.  I have always casted bell peppers as the supporting actor, but never the star.  This time, since I bought so many, I wanted the bell peppers to be the focus of my main dish.
Stuffed bell peppers freeze beautifully and make a great presentation when served with the tops on.  They can be stuffed with any type of grain (quinoa, rice, couscous, etc) and protein (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, sausages, etc).   Other ingredients like pine nuts, curry powder, diced tomatoes, herbs, feta cheese, and/or sun-dried tomatoes can bring endless variations to this one dish.  It is also a great way to transform and disguise leftovers.  The starch to meat ratio can be adjusted depending on what your budget is like and/or what you happen to have on hand.  The bell peppers really infuses the stuffing with flavor while baking.  Edible food containers are so cool.  Choose bell peppers that have even bottoms.  Or you can also cut them in half, length-wise (keeping the stems) to make side dish portions. 

Stuffed Bell Peppers
10-12 bell peppers
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion, finely diced
2 tsp fresh marjoram
3 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp pine nuts
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp oil

Cut the tops off the bell peppers and set aside.  Remove and discard the seeds and white parts.  Par-boil the bell peppers for about 20 seconds and arrange standing upright on a baking dish.  Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Heat oil in saute pan.  Add onions and stir.  Cook until translucent.  Add ground turkey and garlic powder.  Stir until cooked through.  Mix in rice, tomatoes and marjoram.  Turn off heat.  Mix in feta and pine nuts.  Season the mixture with salt & pepper to taste.
Carefully spoon the stuffing mixture into each bell pepper.  Pack it in as much as possible without tearing the bell peppers.  Place the bell pepper tops over the filling, as covers.  Fill the bottom 1 1/2 inches of the baking dish with water.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.


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