Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Green Peppers

 

My diet as a child left much to be desired.  I grew up in the Midwest in a little German town, and needless to say, meat and potatoes were the basic staple of our diet.   My mother’s pot roasts (or any meat she prepared for that matter) were always dry and over-cooked, probably because of some fear from that era of food poisoning if any part of the meat were still pink inside.  I was never a big meat eater, I never even realized I liked the taste of meat until I started going to restaurants in my 20’s. 

 

Other items on our family dinner menu included Hamburger Helper, spaghetti out of a jar, or “hot dish” – a midwest invention that consists of some combination of meat and pasta or beans and some kind of sauce with ingredients such as tomato sauce, mayonnaise, or even catsup.  My mother also had an aversion to onions, so there was rarely an onion to be found in any dish that ended up on our dinner table.

 

When I was in my teens I decided I was going to learn how to cook something a little more interesting and exotic.  So I looked through some cookbooks and found a recipe for stuffed green peppers.  I don’t think we ever ate green peppers unless it was one of the toppings on a frozen pizza.  This is perfect, I thought, I’m going to try out this recipe.  So I asked my mother to pick up the ingredients and said I was going to cook dinner that night.  She was a little nervous about the onions, but my dad ended up loving the meal.   To this day he says it was one of his favorite meals to eat. 

 

My parents were in town recently for a visit, and I surprised my dad with this gluten-free, dairy-free version of stuffed peppers for dinner one night.  I made some simple substitutions using almond cheese, millet instead of bread crumbs, and ground turkey instead of beef (I have not eaten red meat in over 3 years).  My dad was very pleased and said it was every bit as good as the way I used to make it.

 

Ingredients:

4 medium green peppers

1/4 cup millet

1 small onion or shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 T olive oil

1/2 lb. ground turkey

2 oz. grated almond cheese (optional – it contains traces of casein)

1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1 T chopped fresh basil leaves)

1/2 tsp dried oregano (or chopped fresh leaves)

1/2 tsp salt

1 6-oz can tomato paste

1 cup vegetable stock

 

Boil the millet in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes.  While bringing 1 quart of water to boil in a separate saucepan, remove the stems and seeds from peppers.  Blanch the peppers in the boiling water for 1 minute each and arrange in a casserole dish.  Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine the cooked millet, onion-garlic mixture, ground turkey, almond cheese, basil/oregano, salt and half the can of tomato paste.  Stuff the peppers with this mixture.  If there is any leftover mixture, spoon it into the casserole along side the peppers.  In another bowl, combine the remaining tomato paste and vegetable stock and stir until the lumps of tomato paste dissolve.  Pour the mixture over the stuffed green peppers, cover and bake at 375 degrees F for an hour.  I like to serve them on a bed of wild rice – however they are very filling and will stand alone.

 

Serves 4

 

 

This recipe does require at least 30 minutes of prep time before baking, but you can refrigerate the stuffed peppers for up to a day before you bake them (just allow the millet & onions to cool before mixing them with the ground turkey & almond cheese).

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