Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

I'm sorry.  I apologize for this super-long hiatus in posting.  Life has been, shall we say, really crazy lately. I've barely had time to brush my hair, let alone cook, photograph, and blog about some amazing foods.  I feel bad about the time that has passed since our last encounter.  It's way too long in my book, really.  Oh, FKS blog, how I've missed you.

As some of you know, I've started working again.  This was totally unplanned and quite the surprise.  I really love my job but working coupled with three kids, soccer practice and games, homecoming dances, band rehearsal and gigs, HOA duties, and just basically having a life is a difficult balance for me.  I don't know how you people do it.  I know there are bloggers out there who work full time, have 7 kids, a spouse, and a house full of animals and still manage to post 5 days a week.  Good luck to them and their blood pressure.

So here we are with a fantastic recipe for stuffed peppers.  I actually had never eaten them until I made this recipe.  Therefore, I don't have a great control for what they're supposed to taste like.  All I know is that these are really good.

The peppers are creamy and silky.  The stuffing is hearty and flavorful.  The sauce tastes like it's been simmering on Grandma's stove for 15 hours.  The best part is they cook in the slow-cooker for hours until perfection.  Really delicious on a chilly autumn evening.  It appears I've really been missing out all these years.

Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

4 bell peppers - red, orange, and/or yellow
1-1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 c. arborio rice
8 oz. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 onions, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2-1/2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (1-1/4 c.)
2 T. chopped fresh basil

Slice off the top half-inch of the peppers.  Seed the inside of the pepper cups.  Chop the pepper tops, excluding the stem.  In a large microwavable bowl, microwave the broth and rice for 13-15 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a large non-stick skillet until browned.  Drain, reserving fat in skillet.  Put sausage in the large bowl with the cooked rice.

Add onion and chopped pepper to skillet and cook until browned, 8-10 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, and remove from heat.

Mix 1 cup of sauce and 1 cup cheese with the rice and sausage.  Pour the rest of the sauce into the slow-cooker.  Using a skewer, poke 4 holes in the bottom of each pepper cup.  Fill each one with the sausage mixture.  Place in slow-cooker.  Top each pepper with the remaining cheese.  Cover and cook on low for  4 to 4-1/2 hours until peppers are tender.

Once done, remove peppers to a plate.  Stir in the fresh basil to the sauce in the slow-cooker and serve with peppers.

Recipe from Cook's Country August/September '11
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