As I write this, wind is lashing at the window next to my desk. Football is on in the background; drowning out the sound of shovels scraping against the sidewalk outside. Winter is officially upon us, people — and here in Chicago, it’s cold. The perfect weather for stuffed peppers — savory, satisfying, and most importantly, piping hot.
This is another great recipe to have in your arsenal because you can mix it up any way you want. Try orzo instead of rice, pancetta instead of sausage, or Parmesan instead of feta. Don’t like peppers? Use zucchini instead. But this is my favorite way to make this winter favorite.
(Over)stuffed Peppers (serves 4)
What you need:
- 4 bell peppers (preferably red, yellow or orange), tops removed and chopped for filling
- 2 raw sausage links (I used chorizo) or veggie sausage
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 4oz mushrooms, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, including juice (any variety you like)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil
How you do it:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut the top off of each pepper and remove the ribs and seeds to form a bowl. Put peppers cut side down in an 8″ x 8″ baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until slightly soft — approximately 4 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook sausage (removed from casing) over medium heat until crumbly and brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same skillet, cook chopped peppers, shallots and mushrooms in fat leftover from the sausage (add some olive oil if needed) until soft, approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 3 minutes more.
- Add tomatoes with juice and cook for 3 additional minutes. Add rice and chorizo and cook for 3 minutes, or until a majority of the liquid in the pan has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
- Season the inside of each pepper with salt and freshly ground pepper, then fill each one with a quarter of the filling (don’t be shy!). Return stuffed peppers to baking dish, top with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, and bake uncovered for approximately 15 minutes or until tops are brown.