Monday, October 7, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

It's been quite a few months since I have wandered over here to the farm blog. The biggest reason is that I have been doing weekday "Morning Farm Reports" on the Facebook page so that has taken away a chunk of time.  The second reason though is that it has been a nightmare as far as weather on the farm this year and Mike and I are just about ready for the 2013 growing season to be done with. I am however planning on putting a post together of some of the highlights or more like lowlights of the season, but that comes later.

Today is about food.  Since it is October, we finally have an abundance of bell peppers coming on (that should give a clue as to the kind of year it has been).  Last week I made some stuffed bell peppers and have a few requests for a recipe so the ol' farm blog seems the most logical spot for easy access by all.

As the song goes, there must be 50 ways to leave your lover and I'm sure there are as many ways to make stuffed bell peppers.  I guess the classic way is a ground beef and rice mix, but you can use pretty near any type of meat you would like or even go vegetarian.  You can use rice of any variety or quinoa or orzo or any other small grain or pasta.  I make them with a tomato based flare, but I've seen them with broccoli and cheese or wild rice and herb flavored.  Pick a combo, any combo.

For the peppers I made last week, I choose ground venison.  Either my husband or myself usually harvest one or two deer off our farm every year so we eat much more venison than we do beef or pork.  The starting point of my recipe is one pound of ground venison that has been cooked and set aside (I did this the day before).

Cut the tops off 6 bell peppers, remove the core and seeds, wash and set aside.

Put a large pot of water on to boil.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Next is the rice.  I am a big proponent of making things from scratch and not using store bought mixes full of ingredients I can't pronounce.  However, when time is a factor as it sometimes is, I occasionally resort to store bought mixes.  If I had been making this totally from scratch I would have caramelized some onion, celery and carrot to use in a homemade marinara sauce that I would have mixed with some brown rice.  The easy way out was to buy one of those dry spanish rice mix packages that is more pasta than rice and use that.  Hey I was in a hurry.  I put the rice mix and the amount of water called for on the package in a skillet.

To the skillet I also added:
1 pint jar of my home canned tomatoes (drained)
1 tsp minced garlic (dang I should have added more)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
And maybe something else, but that's all I can remember.

I then cooked the rice/pasta and tomato mixture.  When finished cooking, mixed with the ground venison and set aside.

Next I boiled the bell peppers in the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.  Took them out and cooled them by running under cold water in the sink.  I suppose you could skip this step, but I've always done it this way and it does speed up cook time.

Next I stood the peppers upright in a foil lined baking dish.  They JUST fit in my 7"X11" baking pan (my 9X13 was in use for something else).  Then I stuffed them with the rice/meat mixture.  Added 1 tsp of sugar to 1 8oz can of tomato sauce and drizzled over the six stuffed peppers.  Covered the peppers with foil.

Baked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Removed foil and sprinkled cheddar cheese on top of each pepper.  Baked 10 minutes longer uncovered.  Done.

They make great leftovers for lunch too!