Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sandra's Stuffed Peppers

Fresh, Local Produce ready to go 
It's that time of the year - peppers and tomatoes ripening in the garden, and in abundance at the farmers markets.  One of my clients loves stuffed bell peppers and requests them often, and I probably have never made them the same way twice.  This time she requested they have carrots, zucchini, green onion, tomatoes, brown rice and either ground turkey or chicken, so I needed to create and test a recipe for her. 

So this is how I created Sandra's Stuffed Peppers.  First I started with 11 red and orange bell peppers (one was huge, so I split to get to the 12 peppers requested), some scallions, a medium zucchini, and a about 4 medium carrots.

Julienne Peeler
I julienned the carrots and zucchini with my handy julienne peeler; be careful with these, those little teeth are wicked sharp.  I won this round and retained all of the skin on my knuckles for a change. 

Mise en Place
I diced the pepper tops (waste not...), about a half dozen plum tomatoes, and chopped the scallions.

Post Blanching
I brought a big pot of water to boil, added some salt, then blanched the peppers, in batches for about 5 minutes per batch, then put them on a sheet tray upside down to drain.

Meanwhile, I heated about a teaspoon of The Olive Tap's Tuscan herb flavored olive oil, then sauteed the carrots and diced bell pepper for a few minutes until tender.  I seasoned with a sprinkling of Penzey's Tuscan Sunset and salt and pepper, then I added the rest of the veggies.

Sauteed Veggies 
After the veggies were done I put them in a large bowl with two packages of SteamFresh Brown Rice, steamed for 4 and a half minutes in the microwave.  Brilliant - perfectly cooked, not gummy or stuck together.  It isn't the most economical option, but it is definitely the fastest one to long grain brown rice. I also tossed in a large can of Muir Glenn diced tomatoes with basil and a large can of Muir Glenn Tomato Puree.

Then I combined two pounds of ground turkey breast with two pounds of ground turkey thighs and browned them til cooked through (in two batches).  (Somehow when the butcher handed me two tiny packages with a pound of each in them, it didn't seem like enough, so I doubled down) Drained then combined with the veggies and rice.  I seasoned again and added a couple of hearty shakes of Borsari.  Because there was so much stuff, even though I had seasoned each layer, it took several additions and checks to get it in balance.  I gave it a few shakes of the seasoned olive oil and a shake of red wine vinegar as well. 

Not surprisingly, I had a ton of extra filling - probably enough to do at least another 18 peppers, but since it isn't stuffed raw into the peppers then baked, like a traditional stuffed pepper, the unstuffed version can be eaten as is. 

Finished & Cooling on Ice Blankets 
I didn't put additional sauce on top, but I did purchase a nice, thick organic tomato puree, that would work if you wanted more sauce.

So now I will attempt to rescale this into a normal amount of servings.

Sandra's Stuffed Peppers

6 servings

Ingredients:

6 medium bell peppers - your favorite color, tops removed and diced, seeds and ribs discarded
1 medium zucchini, julienne
2 medium carrots, julienne
1 small bunch of green onions, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, diced
Olive oil, preferably herb flavored
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey (blend of white and dark)
1 pkg of SteamFresh Brown Rice, cooked as directed
15 oz can of Muir Glen Tomato Puree
15 oz can of Muir Glenn Diced Tomatoes with Basil
Salt and Pepper
Penzeys Tuscan Sunset 
Borsari Seasoning Blend
Red Wine Vinegar

1. Blanch Peppers in boiling, salted water about 5 minutes; remove and drain.
2.  Saute carrots and diced peppers in hot, seasoned olive oil about 5 minutes til tender; season and add the rest of the veggies and saute a few minutes more. 
3. Put cooked veggies in large bowl with cooked rice, puree, and diced tomatoes, stir to combine.
4.  Brown turkey until cooked through - season, drain, add to veggies in bowl and stir to combine all.  Add vinegar, check final seasoning, adjust.
5.  Stuff mixture into peppers.

Reheat in microwave or oven if eating immediately; top with additional tomato puree or sauce if desired.

Cool and wrap for freezer, if not eating right away.  Thaw overnight in fridge, then reheat in microwave or oven.

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