These green bell peppers came from the Farmer’s Market last Saturday. They were lovely and fresh, and two for a dollar, which is a better price than you can get on bell peppers at the conventional grocery stores right now. Of course, these are a little smaller than the conventionally grown mono-peppers you get at the grocery store, but they make up for it by having a much more distinctive flavor. Conventionally grown peppers can taste a bit watered-down, but these have a dense, sharp pepperiness.
They were lovely to eat raw, but then we had a cold front a few days ago, and I started digging out my sweaters and thinking about winter-y food. Does everyone associate food so sharply with certain times of year? I’m convinced that some foods are only meant for certain seasons.
To me, stuffed peppers are only for fall. I guess because you have to bake them for a long time. Running the oven in summer in Texas is unconscionable; it heats the kitchen up too much. There’s just a few weeks in the year when you can both get peppers and bake them, and that time is now.
So, last night I made a ground-beef version for my boyfriend and a meatless version for me. For the record, I am not a vegetarian. I grew up on a farm, where killing and eatings things is just part of life. That said, I am picky about what meat I will eat. Gigantic feed-and-slaughter operations are a little horrifying to me on a number of levels that I won’t let myself totally dwell on right now BECAUSE
…finding sources of meat I can stand to eat, on my budget, does present a challenge. Back when I had a job, I bought meat only if I could be reasonably assured it was the fresh, local, free of weird drugs, and preferably from one of the small, hand-raised artisanal herds like my family’s operation. That kind of meat is lovely, and it’s more expensive.
C. has adapted better to eating cheap meat. He doesn’t mind bringing it home and nursing it with lots of love and garlic. Me, I’d rather just have something else that’s equally delicious. Thus Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef and Stuffed Peppers with Yam and Onion.
(Actually there’s onion in both. I just added it to the name of mine to make it sound more delicious.)
Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef Filling
4 large-ish green bell peppers
1 lb ground beef
1 c. brown rice, cooked and drained
1 large onion
2-3 lobes of garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds and membranes. Place in small or medium high-sided baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add crushed tomatoes, minced or crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until onion begins to appear transparent.
In mixing bowl, combine ground beef, cooked rice, and about 1/2 c. of tomato mixture until ingredients are well-mixed. Stuffed de-seeded peppers with the seasoned ground beef, and pour remaining tomato mixture over and around peppers in baking dish. Bake 50- 60 minutes.
Stuffed Peppers with Sweet Potato Filling
Follow directions above, but do not add ground beef to tomato/onion mix. Instead, dice two medium-large sweet potatoes into small cubes. Steam or boil until cubes are quite soft. In mixing bowl, combine sweet potato with rice and 1/2 cup tomato mixture.
Stuff peppers and bake as in previous recipe.
(I am not sure these really photographed well. Stuffed peppers is a homely, not a glamorous dish. But delicious!)