Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stuffed Peppers

Somehow, I had never made stuffed peppers until this evening. Since I'm a big fan of bell peppers, this situation had to be rectified. So, I started off by looking at the stuffed pepper recipe in Cooking from the Heart of Spain, a recipe which says that it "deliciously celebrate[s] summer". We're approaching the end of summer here, so I'm all for celebrating it while I still can. I used that recipe as my starting point, made some changes, and ended up with something a bit lighter and more low-maintenance than the original. And they doubly celebrate summer because they're done entirely on the stovetop: no oven. :)

To go with the peppers, I made the "Hot Potatoes" (Patatas Bravas) from the same book. They're very easy: shallow-fried potatoes that are then tossed with salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper. The cumin in the potatoes brought out the cumin in the stuffed pepper sauce, and the heat from the cayenne balanced very nicely with the sweetness of the peppers and the acidity of the tomatoes.

Stuffed peppers Patatas Bravas

Sort-of Spanish Stuffed Peppers
serves 4

4 bell peppers
2 slices of bread
Milk (for soaking the bread)
1 egg, beaten
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil or 2 tbsp bacon fat
1 14.5 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes (diced = chunkier sauce, crushed = smoother sauce)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Cut around the stems of the peppers, and remove the stems and seeds.

Soak the bread in milk until softened. Squeeze out excess milk and discard, then crumble the bread into a mixing bowl.

Reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons of the beaten egg in a shallow bowl or saucer. Add the remaining egg to the bread. Add about a quarter of the chopped onion, a third of the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and all of the nutmeg, pepper, parsley, and ground turkey. Combine well. Stuff the peppers with the turkey mixture. (You may have some turkey mixture left over; don't try to overstuff the peppers in order to use up all of the stuffing.)

Dip the open ends of the peppers in the reserved egg, and then into the flour.

Heat the oil or fat in a deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the peppers, floured side down. Once the floured sides have browned, add the remaining chopped onion and garlic to the pan. Turn the peppers to fry on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, turning the peppers every 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 20 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and serve with tomato sauce spooned over them.

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