I recently came across this artful display of jewel-like bell peppers at a fruit and veggie stand. I love the colors! I immediately started to think about inventing a new recipe for A LA CARTE Kitchen. There are a variety of ways to use bell peppers—you can roast, saute, grill, or blanch them, use them in salads, or eat them raw. After lots of ideas, I settled on creating a modern version of traditional stuffed peppers. I have happy childhood memories of my Mom serving green
peppers stuffed with ground beef, rice and tomato sauce. I am sure many of you have the same memories! I put a spin on the traditional recipe by using red, yellow and orange bell peppers, flavored chicken sausage, butternut squash, fresh sage, yellow rice and blue saga cheese. I think the flavor combination is delicious, and really nice for autumn—let me know if you like it!
Twisted Stuffed Peppers
Makes 4 servings
4 red, yellow and/or orange peppers, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 flavored chicken sausage links, removed from casings (about 1/2 lb. — I used sun-dried tomato and basil flavor)
1 cup diced butternut squash (about 1/2 small peeled and seeded)
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 package (8 ounces) yellow rice mix (I used Zataran’s, but you can use your favorite)
2 ounces Blue Saga cheese, cut into 8 slices
– Parboil peppers until slightly tender, about 15 minutes. Drain.
– Preheat oven to 375F. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up meat with side of spoon, until browned. With slotted spoon, remove sausage from skillet.
– To drippings in skillet, add squash, onion, garlic and sage; cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add rice mix, reserved sausage and amount of water on rice package directions; heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender, following rice package directions.
– Arrange pepper halves, cut side up, in 13 x 9″ baking dish. Spoon rice mixture evenly into pepper halves. Top with cheese slices. Bake, uncovered, until heated through and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
– Add raisins or currants to mixture to add a bit of sweet to mixture.
– Not a blue cheese fan like me? Try shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella.
Peppers come in all shapes, sizes and colors—large, small, red, green, yellow, orange, purple, oval, curled, bell-shaped and more. They can be hot, mild, or sweet and have all sorts of names: bell, chili, jalapeno, banana, habanero, cayenne, chipotle, cherry, fresno, mirasol, pablano, ancho, scotch bonnet, and serrano.
The most common is the bell pepper. They are the sweetest of all the varieties with green being the less sweet and slightly more bitter than the red, yellow and orange bell pepper. Red bell peppers also have more vitamins and nutrients and have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.