Stuffed Peppers____________

Make Ahead Stuffed Peppers

banana peppersBanana Peppers

Stuffed peppers can be made up to 1 day in advance.  Cool after baking and keep tightly covered in baking dish.  Refresh with additional tomato sauce, butter or olive oil.  Reheat, covered in 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated

Peppers can also be stuffed 1 day in advance.  Store unbaked in a tightly covered baking dish. Bring to room temperature before placing in oven.

Prepare the meat or veggie filling 1 day in advance. Cover tightly in fridge. Bring to room temperature before stuffing

Spicy Black Bean and Corn Stuffed Peppers

Serves 8

8 large green peppers
Salt and black pepper
3 cups cooked rice
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 11-ounce can Mexican-style corn, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Jalapeño pepper slices, for garnish

Cut a thin slice from stem end of each pepper; remove seeds and membranes; rinse. Cook peppers 5 minutes in enough boiling water to cover; drain.

Season inside of peppers with salt and pepper; set aside.  Combine rice, beans, corn, onion, walnuts, chiles, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon about 1 cup rice mixture into each pepper (depending on size).  Stand upright in 13 × 9-inch baking pan.

Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle peppers with cheese and cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish stuffed peppers with jalapeño pepper slices.

Meat and Rice Stuffed Banana Peppers

Serves 4

1/3 cup short grain rice
6 Cubanella or banana peppers
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground meat.  Use a mixture of ground pork, turkey, beef and veal
1 large egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
3 cups of your favorite chunky tomato sauce, preferably with basil and oregano

Cook the rice according to package directions. Cool slightly and fluff rice with a fork.  Cool to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the stems from the peppers and scrape out the seeds and membrane.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onions until wilted, about 4 minutes.  Put the cooked onions in a large mixing bowl and add the meat, egg, cheese, parsley, oregano and cooked rice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix until evenly blended.

Loosely pack each pepper with about 1/4 cup filling.  Rub the outside of the peppers lightly with the remaining olive oil.  Place peppers in a single layer in a large oiled baking pan.  Roast the peppers, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Turn once or twice with tongs until soft and lightly brown in spots.

Pour on enough of the tomato sauce to barely cover the peppers.  Cover pan with foil and bake until peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through, 30-40 minutes.  Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving

Orzo Stuffed Peppers with Feta, Olives and Fresh Herbs
Serves 4, can be easily doubled

Vegetarian stuffed peppers.  Serve with the  Wine Herb-Butter Sauce

3/4 cup orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for the peppers
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces feta cheese, drained
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 medium red bell peppers, shaped for standing
1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and cool.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool. 

To the onions add the orzo, feta cheese, oregano, thyme, parsley, olives and some of the lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed.

Carefully slice off the top 1/2 inch of each pepper and reserve. With a small knife, cut away the membrane/ribs inside the pepper, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Tap out the seeds. Spoon even amounts of the orzo filling into the peppers, lightly pushing it in with your fingers. Replace the top of each pepper.

Stand the peppers in a baking dish and sprinkle them with 2 or more tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the water into the bottom of the dish and cook in the oven until the peppers are very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add more water as needed to prevent scorching.

Serve with Wine Herb-Butter Sauce

Quick Wine Herb-Butter Sauce
Makes about 1 cup

Prepare the sauce up to 30 minutes ahead.  Keep warm over a double boiler or briefly microwave if butter solidifies.  Also delicious over noodles, vegetables or seafood

1½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3-4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into several pieces
1½ cups dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped.  Use parsley, chives, or basil

In a small saucepan add the broth and wine and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat slightly and boil until the sauce reduces to 1 cup, about 20-25 minutes.   Lower the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until smooth.  Stir in the salt and pepper to taste.  Add the herbs just before serving

Crab Stuffed Baby Peppers
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, claw or backfin, drained
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
12 mini or baby sweet peppers, any color, at least 2½-3 inches in length
Chopped fresh basil or parsley

Heat oven to 425°F.   Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Adjust for seasonings.  Stem and seed peppers and cut in half.  Spoon crab mixture into pepper halves.  

Put peppers on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toasted and brown.  Let cool slightly before serving. Top with shredded basil or chopped parsley.


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