Two weeks ago a new farmers market popped up only 2 blocks from my home. It’s small only 2 stands one with baked goods and the other fresh fruit and vegetables. It does not have an abundant selection but the vegetables are good and fresh and it’s great to have a farmers market during the week and near me. I’ve shopped there the past two weeks and have some beautiful produce to work with.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve made stuffed peppers, a really long time, I’m not sure why because I like them. I usually stuff the peppers with meat and rice and vegetables and simmer them in a tomato sauce, actually when I first made them years ago I saw a recipe using Campbells tomato soup. I made them on the stove top and the peppers were soft and tender and the filling was delicious, I always topped them with some cheese which melted on the peppers and the sauce that you spoon over the pepper was really good. So I bought some tomato soup and decided to recreate this forgotten recipe. I have never seen a purple pepper before you can see it below, I thought it was so pretty I had to buy it and thought it would be nice to have an assortment of colors. These are great because they are already individually portioned and with a salad you have a great meal. For a vegetarian version you can add lentils or beans instead of the ground meat, even tofu would be good.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Makes 4 large stuffed peppers
1 lb ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken
1 cup cooked rice, white or wild or both (I used wild rice)
1/2 cup cooked yellow split peas
1 medium onion chopped
1 large clove garlic minced
1 cup diced fresh tomato tomato
2 cups chopped kale (uncooked, it will cook down)
1 cup grated cheese, your choice, I used manchego and cheddar.
1 can tomato soup or tomato sauce + 1 can water (a can of soup is 10 3/4 oz)
Ready for the oven
Boil your rice in salted water until it’s cooked al dente. You don’t want it completely cooked or it will turn to mush when it’s cooked in the pepper. In another pot boil the yellow split peas in salted water until soft but a little toothsome.
Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Pour the tomato soup or sauce and water in a baking dish and whisk to combine. Clean your peppers, cut the top off and clean the inside of the pepper removing seeds and membranes. If the peppers won’t sit well cut/shave a very thin slice off the bottom of the pepper being careful not to cut a hole or the filling will fall out.
Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic, cook until soft and transluscent. Add the ground meat and cook until meat is browned. Drain any fat, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Add a little more olive oil and cook the kale until softened. Chop the tomatoes and add to a mixing bowl along with the meat, onion,garlic and kale, mix in the rice, split peas and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Note: It’s important to season along the way then before you stuff the peppers season again if needed. The cheese acts as a binding agent but you can also add a beaten egg.
Stuff each pepper all the way to the top gently pressing the filling into the pepper and place in the baking dish sitting in the tomato soup. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes, uncover, increase the temperature to 425 and cook another 15-20 minutes. The peppers should be soft but not falling apart.
Over the weekend I got to meet Gerlinde- Sunny Cove Chef. Meeting other bloggers is wonderful and a great perk that comes with blogging, she is such a lovely and sweet person. We had lunch at a local restaurant and walked around the neighborhood. Gerlinde is German by birth and lives in sunny California. She is also an accomplished and avid traveller, part of her blog is devoted to her travels, she calls it Wanderlust Blog. She brought me a gift, so sweet of her. Some meyer lemons from her tree, beautiful ceramic egg cups, some German pesto salt and some tea. I used one of the lemons with the nectarines to make this preserve. An unusual combination, maybe, but it works and the preserves are delicious, a little tart, a little sweet and the meyer lemon adds this wonderful flavor that is distinct to that citrus fruit. I only made one 16 oz jar using the nectarines I had that were over ripe.
Nectarine and Meyer Lemon Preserves
Made 1 16 oz jar
5-6 nectarines peeled and cut into slices- they were sizeable nectarines so if yours are smaller use more
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp)
Juice of one meyer lemon (You will put half of the lemon in with the nectrarines while cooking)
Add the sliced nectarines to heavy bottom sauce pan along with the sugar, honey, cinnamon,lemon juice and half a lemon. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until thick, test it by placing a spoonful on a cold saucer it should thicken when it’s ready. It cooked for close to an hour. Place in sterilized jar, seal and process with your preferred method. No shots of this open the jar is sealed, waiting for winter.