August 12, 2010

Hearty Stuffed Peppers

It is zucchini time at The Delectable Kitchen.  The CSA to which I belong has been delivering a bountiful crop of zucchini lately.  Sometimes if I don’t use the zucchini right away, I find that it gets a bit bitter with age.  The best way to mask the slightly off-flavor is to combine it with other, bolder, flavors.  A stuffed pepper is a great way to incorporate vegetables and grains into a really tasty mélange.

Usually when I make stuffed peppers I’ll use brown rice as the starch.  This time around, I was looking for something different to bind the mix.  A long time ago I purchased a bag of mixed grains from Trader Joe’s.  It has languished on the pantry shelf for almost a year.  A mix of couscous, orzo, quinoa and beans, it suddenly seemed perfect for an appearance in a stuffed pepper.  I’m happy to report that it was a success!  The varying textures of the mixed grains create a unique balance of tender and firm, which compliments the softer blend of vegetables.  Of course, you can use your favorite starch… white rice, brown rice, even torn pieces of fresh bread!  Just make sure to slightly undercook the grains, since they’ll continue to cook inside of the pepper.  Impossible not to be delectable!

Hearty Stuffed Peppers

½ zucchini, shredded
¼ onion, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
2 whole green bell peppers
1 cup ground turkey, cooked
½ cup rice or barley or your favorite grains, slightly undercooked
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice off the top eighth of the whole green bell peppers.   Discard the seeds and set the large peppers aside.  Dice the remaining pepper tops (making sure to remove the stem) and place in a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Scoop the mixture into each of the two large bell peppers.  Place in a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot.  Serve alongside a refreshing cucumber salad and a loaf of crusty bread.  So delicious!

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