Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stuffed Green Peppers

 Made this for deliciousness tonight.

It's a perfect fall food.  Hearty and filling.  Oh, and cheese-y.  Melted cheese is very important.  So is what you pair with it.

Like crusty bread and a smooth local beer.  These are crucial elements.  Something about this meal screams for a brew to go along with it.  At least to me.

The key to making this dish is in melting the mozzarella on top for just the perfect amount of time.  Enough that it's good and gooey, and just crispy around the edges.  Too much longer and it becomes an unappetizing blob.  Nobody wants that.  It also helps when you're able to pick up some hefty peppers from the farmer's market.  No puny peppers allowed.

Stuffed Green Peppers

This is what I normally use.  It's one of those meals that is easy to adapt.  Mushrooms would be a great sub for sausage.  Other spices work as well, such as basil or thyme.  I've even used red or yellow bell peppers when I can't find 4 green peppers large enough, which makes for a slightly sweeter dish overall.

1 cup rice (I prefer Jasmine, but I've also used Basmati.  Brown rice would probably work here, too.)
4 large green bell peppers
1 sweet yellow onion
3-4 tsp. olive oil
2 links Italian sausage
3/4 tsp. ground fennel
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Grated Mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste (I usually use garlic salt...which I tend to use in everything)

Cook rice according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat 9x9 baking dish lightly with oil.  Trim bottoms and caps of bell peppers; remove seeds.  Place hollowed peppers in baking dish.

Dice pepper caps, bottoms, and onion.  Heat 2-3 tsp. olive oil in large skillet.  Saute peppers and onions for 5-6 minutes, until soft and onions are translucent.  Remove mixture and add 1 tsp. oil to pan.  Remove sausage from casing and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks.

Add pepper-onion mixture back to pan, add fennel and oregano, and cook for 2 minutes.  Add cooked rice and Parmesan, cooking until mixture is heated through and cheese is melted.  Add salt and pepper, and additional spices (if needed) to taste.

Stuff peppers with filling mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove and top with mozzarella.  Return to oven for 5-7 more minutes, until cheese is melted and edges are crispy.

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