My mom (God rest her soul) was a terrific cook, and I pictured her laughing in heaven, watching me try to assemble my peppers last night. At first I consulted a few random recipes, then I turned off the computer and just improvised. Isn't that more fun anyway? Truth be told, I'm not much of a cook, but I am persistent. So I scribbled my steps down as best I could. At least I came up with a good name for the dish.
Stuffed red "state" peppers
2 1/4 cups yellow basmati rice
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (approx)
Black ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley
1 medium yellow onion
Pinch of Rosemary
2 tbsps olive oil
4 red medium bell peppers
1 medium green pepper
14 ounces lean ground turkey
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
For the "special" red sauce:
1 15-ounce can tomato puree
1/2 can tomato paste (3 oz)
pinch of oregano
Stick of cinamon
1/4 cup red wine
1 small white onion
1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine 3 cups water, 1/2 cup chicken stock, with rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then transfer to a large bowl to cool, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Finely chop the onion, green pepper and parsley. Toss a pinch of rosemary on top.
Brown garlic in hot skillet with olive oil/ drain oil.
Slice each bell pepper lengthwise. Cut away the light membranes and scoop out seeds. In a large bowl add turkey, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup feta, the rice mixture, chopped onion, herbs (save a pinch for garnish), browned garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 shakes red pepper flakes. Mash it up with your hands. Stuff the peppers!
Make the sauce: 2 1/2 cups water, the tomato puree, salt, cinamon, etc in a medium saucepan, high heat then at boil, cover and allow to simmer for 15 mins.
In a large rectangular glass baking dish, arrange the peppers, pour an inch of sauce to surround the peppers (don't drown them!). Ladle remaining sauce neatly on top of each pepper. Cooking time: 50 to 60 minutes. If time, baste regularly with sauce at bottom of dish. Toward end of cooking, sprinkle remaining mixed cheeses on top of peppers, broil until melted. Sprinkle herbs on top at end.
Let sit for 5 mins then serve.
Wine recommendation: Pinot Noir. Number of bottles: Depends on how dish comes out.