I had been wanting to try stuffed peppers for quite some time and I finally had the chance to do it! This was the first time I made them and it won’t be the last. And… the stuffing included Feta… PERFECT!
I made some adjustments to a Greek Salad recipe I found and served it alongside the stuffed peppers… YUMMY!
Making this meal is a bit of a process, but if you do as much as you can ahead of time it’s MUCH easier and not so stressful! Still, leave yourself some time to get it all on the table… it’s not a quick fix but it’s a fantastic end result!
STICK WITH ME ON THIS ONE… Let’s get started!
Shopping List: You choose…
The day before:
1. Toast up 1/2 cup walnuts:
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the 1/2 cup walnuts on a sheet pan and toast them in the oven for 6-8 minutes. I usually give mine a stir/ toss about 3 minutes in and then check them at the 6 minute mark. They will get slightly golden and you’ll be able to smell their aroma when they’re done. YUM! Finely chop them and then store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
The pictures: Click on the FIRST one for a close-up slideshow 🙂
2. Prep your peppers:
Cut the top off each bell pepper. Do NOT throw away the tops! Carefully cut out the seeds and white membranes you see along the inside walls of each pepper. Take your time so you don’t cut through the pepper anywhere! You need it to hold its shape and not have any holes. Place the tops back on their respective peppers, wrap them well in plastic wrap, and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the next day. A small step but it still takes time!
The day of cooking:
1. The Rice:
Here’s what you’ll need for this…
2 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice, 1/4 cup dried currants or golden raisins (I used the raisins), 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
Put all four ingredients into a medium saucepan that has a cover. Put the pan over HIGH heat and bring it to a boil, stirring the mixture. Turn the heat to low and cover the mixture after it comes to a boil. This will allow it to cook at a low boil (a simmer). It takes about 45 minutes!
You’re basically waiting for all the water to be absorbed by the rice. When that 45 minutes is up, take the lid off and fluff the mixture with a fork. Allow it to cool COMPLETELY! Store the rice in a sealed container in the fridge if you’re making it the morning of the day you cook. Otherwise, just cover the saucepan and leave it on the counter until you’re ready for it!
See why I told you to make it ahead? 🙂
2. The Sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the following ingredients: 3 cups water, 1 15-oz can tomato puree, 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Hold off on adding the cinnamon stick to the sauce at this point, even though it will be added when you actually do your cooking! Cover this mixture and store it in the fridge. You’ll need to give it a good whisk again before using it!
The pics: I did not think ahead and made my sauce just before cooking the peppers so the steps show me adding it to the cooking pot and not a bowl 🙂
TIME TO COOK!!
You can certainly start cooking early and be ready by dinnertime, but hopefully my suggestions for making some of these steps ahead will help if you venture to make these peppers!
Here are the steps for when you’re actually ready to cook:
1. The filling:
Zest and juice a lemon… you need 1 tsp lemon zest (do this first) and 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (you should just need 1/2 a lemon to get this amount). Use the other half in a tall glass of water for the chef! 🙂
Chop your fresh herbs…
Put the filling together and STUFF those peppers!!…
2. The Sauce:
Put a deep, wide saucepan (I used my dutch oven) on the stovetop. Make sure you have a lid for it!
Whisk your sauce and pour it into this saucepan. Add in 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon if you don’t have one). Put the bell peppers into the pot, nestling them up against one another. I only made 3 peppers even though I made the full filling recipe (I used the rest of the filling another day for another meal!)
Put the pan over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot to simmer. They will cook for about 50 to 60 minutes (mine were done in 50!… possibly because I only made 3 peppers?)
3. The Topping:
Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup crumbled feta, and your reserved 2 TBSP of herbs to a small bowl. Gently stir it together until evenly combined. You’ll be using this mixture to top the peppers before broiling them… such a delicious, oooey-gooey treat on top!
Pre-heat your broiler about 10 minutes before your peppers are done simmering on the stove.
When the peppers are done simmering, CAREFULLY transfer them to a baking dish (I used a small one as I only had 3 peppers). Be ready! The peppers are super-soft and will fall apart on you if you’re not really careful in this step! One of mine tore a bit but I managed to make it work 🙂
Remove the pepper tops and set them along side the peppers in the baking dish. Top the rice mixture in each of the peppers with your cheese/herb topping and broil them about 2 minutes. The cheese should be melted and will brown a bit!
Serve the peppers with their sauce and a Greek Salad on the side if you like!
Even with its long list of ingredients, the Stuffed Peppers came out to $3.64 per person! (This does not include the salad)
This cost is if you used the cheapest of peppers… the green ones! I really LOVE the yellow, orange and red combination, but if you went this route for 6 people the price per person would go up to $4.60 or more. Probably not worth the price jump BUT if you see peppers are on sale you should jump at the chance and make this dish! If you don’t care what color the peppers are then just go for the green ones and get cookin’!
If you serve it with the Greek Salad it comes to about $5 per serving… much cheaper than any restaurant salad and entree I’ve ordered! 🙂
Click here for the link to the official Stuffed Peppers Recipe.
If you want to see the Greek Salad I made (and modified) click here!
Happy Economical Eating!