Friday, June 17, 2011

Ultimate Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

I don’t know what your mother said at dinner table when you sat and sat and sat before your plate, mine said “At least finish your meat!”
Meat was considered prized and even luxurious to waste. Throughout human history meat was not readily available to all at all times. It was a sign of status and grandeur and wealth to be able to afford a steak. It is still the case in some cultures today. But in case of here and now, most people eat it every day sometimes multiple times a day. There is an article in today’s New York Times (read it here: highlighting one particular group who is advocating reducing your meat intake and proposing going meatless one day a week. Besides the health benefits such as reduction in calories and fat, supposedly decreasing your meat consumption is good for the planet…believe it, don’t believe it, up to you. I personally like the idea of Meatless Monday and can easily forgo on most weekdays as well. Weekends are tough though… that hamburger fresh from the grill sure looks good… juicy steak, ribs. Dripping with the jus… Sorry, where was I? Ahh, meatless dishes! Well if you do decide to tweak a popular dish and make it vegetarian ( or almost vegetarian… I used chicken stock), here is a good one. Enjoy.

Ultimate Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

7 large bell peppers ( any color)
1 cup of black wild rice
2 Cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 small can of tomato sauce or 2 tbs
1 cup of dry white wine
2 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
1 large yellow squash grated
1 large zucchini grated
2 med carrots grated
1 small chili pepper cored and finely diced
1 small onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs fresh oregano minced
2 rosemary springs
½ tsp of crushed red peppers
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-boil the rice per package instruction. Cook it only about to about half the doneness; it will continue to cook with the stuffing.

Add olive oil to a large skillet and set over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Add squash, carrot and zucchini, salt, pepper and all the herbs and spices. Cook for a few minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Turn off the heat and mix pre-cooked rice. Re-season to taste.

Prepare the pepper shells. Cut about ½ inch off the top of each pepper. Core and reserve the “lids”. Stuff the peppers with vegetable and rice mixture and cover with pepper lids.  Place standing up in a large pot, making sure all peppers are fitting very tight, otherwise they will turn over while cooking. 

Add the stock, tomato sauce, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Make sure that the liquid covers the peppers fully. Check the broth for seasoning; you may need to add a bit more salt and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft.  
Remove the peppers and reduce the remaining liquid by 2/3.   Pour over the peppers. 

Serve in a pool of broth sauce ( can always be mopped up be a nice crusty bread) and a bit of sour cream and fresh herbs.
Can be stored in the fridge tightly covered for up to 5 days.
Meatless Monday here I come!

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