Monday, June 7, 2010
A dreary rainiy day makes it easy to want comfort food, but I had to choose something on the lighter side since I gained a few pounds my last few weeks at Hondos. (Why not have a drink 0r two every night with co-workers and eat french fries as if they were carrot sticks?!) Comfort food for most people includes the foods they grew up eating. For me, that would include lasagna, goulash, pigs in a blanket (NOT hot dogs wrapped in frozen bread dough, btw), fried chicken, ham and bean soup, stuffed peppers...
Yes! Stuffed Peppers!!! We used to have them at home ALL the time. My dad would stuff green peppers with white rice, ground beef, onions, tomatoes... and then top it with a little cheddar cheese and bake them in a light tomato broth. I knew I could top the PA version by making it healthier and just as good (if not better!)
I started by toasting some brown rice with a bit of evoo, then adding water and getting it to a simmer. I'd have used vegetable stock if I had any. In a saute pan, I added another glug of evoo and threw in a chopped onion, half of a diced red pepper, 4 minced garlic cloves, and a big handful of grape tomatoes that I'd quartered. I gave it time to get soft and just a little caramelized. I then diced 2 Quorn 'Turkey' burgers and added it to the veggies along with a generous amount of Penzey's Spanish Smoked Paprika and some cumin. I coated all the veggies evenly while allowing the spices to toast up a bit. Then I added a few splashes of Habenero hot sauce for some heat. Next was a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste... I incorporated that into the mix to give it some heat and mellow it out some, then added water a little at a time until I had the consistency I wanted. I adjusted the seasonings with a little more salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
When the rice was done, I added about a cup to the mix. I stirred it all together, tasted once more and was very happy with the outcome. I turned off the heat and just let it do it's thing for about 30 minutes while I puttered around and got the peppers ready. I cut the tops off 2 orange and 2 yellow bell peppers and hollowed them out. I coated my small Le Cresuet baking dish with a little evoo and set the peppers inside. Then, I spooned the mixture to fill each pepper and topped each with a small amount of shredded pepper jack cheese. I covered the dish with foil and placed it in a 400 degree oven while I worked on my "TRAILBLAZERS" sign for my new school. I quite like that as a mascot. I like that purple is the school color even more! When the peppers were soft, I removed the foil and allowed the cheese to brown just a little.
When they were done, they were gooey and so so comforting! The paprika, cumin, and pepper jack cheese gave them a perfect smoky flavor and the hot sauce gave it a bit of heat... the peppers are sweet though, so the contrast was perfect! I had to blog about these quickly because I have to remember how I made them! I have to say I think I exceeded the PA version... they were definitely healthier and I must admit, I think I liked them better... So happy there are 2 leftover for our dinner tonight!