Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Did you ever, as a child, put an entire hard boiled egg in your mouth at a picnic, and then sit there (knowing your Mother could see you) and realise you couldn’t spit it out, abut couldn’t chew and swallow it all either? Oh the dilemma.
I was irresistibly lured to a table at Saturday’s market covered in punnets of brightly coloured sweet bell peppers. Poor Mr P already had the glazed over eyes of a pet chihuahua being dressed up in frills again, when I spotted them down the isle and uttered a wee whoop of excitement. So, to inspire a second wind of Excitement and Vigour for all things shopping, I sold the idea of buying yet more produce to have to lug home by mentioning some magic words: Stuffed Peppers, and, Minced Beef. Oh, that brought the twinkle back long enough to persuade him to help find the prettiest and shiniest peppers by far.
But now I was committed, through the Kharmic backlash of my own desire for all things shiny, to actually make the damn things. I decided against the mince in the end, simply because we’d had quite the culinary weekend and I felt like something more, well, simple really. Of course, having not made stuffed peppers in many a year, I’d forgotten just how long they take to make, the results of which were that we only ended up eating our dinner at ten last night! Well, at least it was good. And shiny.
Note on the recipe: I used 3 anchovy fillets in the recipe, but in retrospect it could have used an extra 3.
Sweet Bell Peppers stuffed with Wild Rice and a Mediteranian Medley
Wild rice to make 1 cup when cooked (I used ⅓ cup grain)
4 medium sized bell peppers
2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Small bunch Swiss chard, 5 or 6 stems, chopped
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
handful finely chopped Italian parsley
about ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
80 ml grated parmigiana or Parmesan
salt and ground black pepper to taste
about 1 cup chicken stock
– start by putting the rice on to cook and pre heating the oven to 380˚F (wild rice can take longer to cook, mine took 45mins) when done, remove from heat and set aside.
– carefully slice the tops off the peppers, keeping them intact. remove all the seeds and inner squishy stuff. Wash inside and out and put aside.
– heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add shallots and garlic. Saute until translucent.
– add tomato paste, cook stirring for a few seconds then add tomatoes and swiss chard. Allow to cook until soft, about 7 or so minutes. Remove from heat
– In a large mixing bowl, mix rice, tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients (excluding the stock), leaving about 2 Tbsp of the cheese aside.
– season to taste.
– arrange peppers bottom down in a greased, oven proof dish. Fill with rice mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese and place tops on top.
– pour stock into the dish and bake for about 1 hour in the oven, basting with the stock every 20 mins to keep the veg moist on top.
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