Monday, November 15, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

I'm really into stuffing things lately. Heh heh.  I have the luxury of kid-free mornings, so I like to assemble stuffed dishes then. That way, when 5:00 rolls around, I can pop a dish in the oven, mix a much-needed cocktail, and the girls and I can relax together and watch "Bewitched," our new favorite show. Spending that normally stress-filled hour relaxing, instead rushing around the kitchen is so worth sacrificing a part of my morning. I try to have a ready-to-bake dish in my arsenal at least a couple of times a week, especially on nights when I know we'll get home late, or I'm going out, but if I could, I'd do it every, single day.

This version of a stuffed pepper has a Mediterranean spin, with the lamb and Manchego.  Any ground meat, and any kind of cheese, would work well here, obviously, but CityMama gave me some of her CSA lamb that her unborn Bundle couldn't stand, and I thought it would be really good with Manchego (it was). A bechamel sauce on top, to keep the meat moist, would have been fab.  Next time.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Ingredients: Under 10
*CSA Items

4 medium peppers (I like all colors, but used all red here), roughly the same size.
1/2 a medium onion*, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes + juice (or 2-3 cups tomato sauce)
1 lb. ground lamb
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbsp each chopped fresh oregano, mint and flat leaf parsley*
1 cup grated manchego cheese
1/4 cup water

Remove the tops of the peppers and use a spoon to scoop the insides out.  Preheat oven to 400. Sautee onion and garlic until nearly soft, then add meat. When meat is almost done, drain off most of the grease, then dump in tomatoes + juice. Transfer to a bowl, then mix in rice and herbs. Stuff the meat mixture into the peppers, really fill 'em up, then place them in a small baking dish. Pour water into baking dish (this will keep the peppers moist while baking). Bake for about 30 minutes, then check for tenderness. If peppers seem soft enough for your taste, top each with cheese, and bake just until melted.

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