|Ground turkey stuffed peppers with roasted corn and goat cheese.|
How to stuff a pepper? Let me count the ways. Tonight's recipe is easy on the gluten-free budget- with a ground turkey filling. Spice it up with chipotle or make it Italian style with basil and oregano. It's all good.
This week has been sunny, cloudy, wet and windy here in the desert. All mixed up. Spring is definitely in the air. Flocks of cranes and geese echo their cocktail party conversation off the walls of Black Mesa, flying north. I hear them as I type. They are a noisy gaggle.
We're still lighting fires in the kiva at night. And still craving comfort food. I had three gorgeous bell peppers on hand- yellow, orange and green. I knew what had to be done. I poured myself a glass of red.
It was time to stuff a vegetable.
This is one of those recipes that you have to engage your intuition and adapt the ingredients to your own needs, depending upon the size of the peppers you choose, and the kind of filling you like- ground turkey or buffalo or sausages. Or go totally veg- this recipe makes for a great vegetarian meal. Just leave out the turkey and add a can of drained black beans, instead.
Note: Each choice influences how much stuffing you'll have. I make a pot of brown rice first, and assemble the stuffing in a skillet; I add the rice in last, a little at a time, to make just enough stuffing for the size of my peppers.
Stuffed Peppers with Ground Turkey Recipe
My flavors are closer to Southwestern than Italian here, so if you prefer more traditional flavors, add Italian herbs instead of the smoked chile and cumin (but Dear Reader, the smoky addition of chipotle gives these babies a serious kick in the butt).
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 lb ground turkey
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup roasted corn kernels (you can pan-toast frozen kernels in a pinch)
2 rounded tablespoons pine nuts or toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup or so cooked brown rice
Chipotle powder, to taste [or other favorite chile spice]
1/2 teaspoon cumin, or to taste
1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
3 large bell peppers: 1 orange, 1 yellow, 1 green, halved and seeded
6 heaping spoonfuls of your favorite prepared salsa- spicy or mild
6 slices fresh goat cheese- omit for dairy-free
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the ground turkey till browned; drain off any liquid, if you need to.
Add a dash more olive oil; heat; add the chopped garlic, onion, corn, and pine nuts; stir and heat through.
Add a cup of cooked brown rice, stir and lightly mix. Add a dash more olive oil, if needed, to moisten. Add chipotle, cumin and paprike. Season with sea salt and pepper. Stir well to combine the flavors. Remove from heat. Add in the chopped cilantro. If you need a little more rice to fill large peppers- add some in and toss.
Choose a shallow baking dish that will fit the halved peppers. Stuff the halved peppers with the brown rice mixture, pressing in firmly; use as much stuffing as you can. Place the stuffed peppers in the baking dish.
Top each pepper with a spoonful of salsa, and a slice of goat cheese, if using.
Pour about an inch of hot boiled water into the bottom of the baking pan, around the peppers, and loosely cover the pan with a foil tent. This helps to cook the peppers. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the peppers are fork tender.
These colorful stuffed peppers can be served as a side dish or a main dish.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
Serves 6 as a side dish - one per person.