Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Plenty of Peppers - Stuffed

It must be October in Northern California. We have had a string of days where the temperature was well above 90 degrees. So much for fall baking! A week or so ago when it was cooler I made stuffed peppers for dinner and just realized that I never posted the recipe or photos.

The red peppers were beautiful...large, meaty and very fresh. I bought them at the farm stand that was also selling the last of the strawberries, plus lots of melon, tomatoes, beans and squash. The yellow pepper came from a friend's CSA box. It was thinner skinned but delicious, too. The lamb is so local that its from sheep who kept our grass down early this spring, another gift from our great-hearted neighbors.

The filling started with sauteed onion, carrot and celery. To that I added both cooked brown rice and fresh corn, cut from the cob, plus some salty feta cheese. A robust flavor was added by using browned ground lamb, fresh rosemary, minced garlic, and dried thyme. I moistened the mixture with a little chicken broth I had in the fridge. It made a wonderful filling for the peppers, bringing out the peppers sweetness and warm flavors. I put the filling that wouldn't fit in the peppers into a greased baking dish and cooked it along with the peppers. It made an outstanding lunch for Sweetie the next day.

He could really use a satisfying lunch because this was just about the time that we had discovered the results of a small, long-term leak in one of our pipes. It has taken almost two weeks to do the repair, but on Friday I should be able to paint the new drywall. After that we can install the last of the new flooring and take a break from construction for a while.

Maybe we'll get cool weather to turn the leaves autumn colors. That's a wonderful time to take a ride in the country and check out all the gold and red and burgundy leaves. Of course what we really want is rain. Wishing for a very rainy winter, but I do hope you get to enjoy fall color if you live where there is some.

Lamb Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

4 medium to large bell peppers (I like red and yellow and orange, but green is OK, too)
1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small carrot, sliced into thin coins
1 pound ground lamb, browned and drained
1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
1 ear corn, steamed 5 minutes, then cooled; corn cut from cob
1/4 cup feta cheese, in small crumble
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
S & P
1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken broth
about 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Wash the peppers and remove the stem end and the core, plus all the seeds. Cut in half. (I like to cut from the stem to the bottom, but some people like to cut through the middle and set the stem end as a bottom. Make sure that the halves are not tippy. Cut off a bit of the outside of the pepper if needed. Set peppers aside.

In a skillet, saute the onion, celery and carrot in the grapeseed oil. Cook, over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onion is transluscent, about 5 minutes. Turn mixture into a large bowl and add the cooked lamb, cooked rice, corn, feta, chopped rosemary, chopped garlic, and dried thyme. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste. Add enough chicken broth to moisten the mixture.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, or a silicon baking mat. Arrange the pepper halves on the pan. Stuff each half with the lamb mixture, mounding in the center. Sprinkle with a touch of cayenne pepper. If there is left over stuffing mixture, place in a greased small baking dish to bake along with the peppers.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. Peppers will be softened and stuffing mixture will be hot and a little browned.

Serve at once. Refrigerate any leftovers, or baked leftover stuffing mixture.

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