Stuffing Big Red
|This pepper was nearly the size of a football.|
For an entire weekend, this red pepper of rather behemoth proportions lurked in my crisper.
In deference to my Wisconsin education, I dubbed him Big Red, even though his origins are just over the Michigan border, about 25 miles from Wisconsin in the gardens of Immerfrost Farm.
Big and proud, I figured he was a Badger at heart: Like me, born and raised in Michigan but residing in Wisconsin.
Big Red demanded the royal treatment. I thought I should stuff him with something very exotic. I toyed with a lot of ideas.
But since it is still Clean Out the Fridge Month, I wanted to use food I had on hand. Here's what I ended up with:
Vegetable Stuffed "Big Red" Pepper with Cheddar Cheese and Walnuts
- 1 very large red pepper (or three medium peppers)
- dash sea salt
- 2 cups wild-and-brown rice blend, cooked and seasoned
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, sliced and chopped
- 2/3 cup green beans, sliced
- 1/3 cup peas, cooked
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Sauté the onion and green pepper in olive oil until lightly browned. Place the rice mix in a bowl, and add the onion and pepper. Next, blanch the carrot and green beans. Plunge into cold water before chopping; add this to the rice and vegetable mix, along with the peas. Add the walnuts for crunch, and about a 1/2 cup of cheese.
Stuff this mixture into the peppers. You will have about a third of the mix left over for another use, such as a side dish.
Bake in a preheated, 400-degree oven for about 40 minutes. Top with remaining half of grated cheese. That's all - really simple.
The pepper was sweet, tender and true - that is, it tasted like a fresh pepper. Never mind that it was larger than a small squash. The walnuts add crunch, while the cheese adds tang.
Most of the ingredients were local, in fact, most came from Immerfrost Farm. The cheddar cheese was from a Wisconsin source, Laack Brothers. Only the rice, olive oil, peas, sea salt and walnuts were purchased at the super market.