Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stuffed Peppers and Stuffed Cabbage

I wanted to post a picture of the peppers from this recipe as I made them last week but greedily devoured them before they had a chance to pose!
This is a picture of my sister and her partner's pepper crop from this year. A very beautiful array! As I mentioned on the show, if you can't get the long Italian variety of Bull's Horn peppers, you may try Hatch chilies if they are still available. Even if you must use regular bell peppers, try the recipe. I would use either red, yellow or orange. I don't think the taste of green peppers goes with this. Also, if using bell peppers, allow them to bake a little while longer as the flesh is much thicker.

Stuffed Italian Peppers

1/2 cup Arborio rice
8 long Italian peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground veal
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
Few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dry oregano~
3 cups of my Sicilian tomato sauce (Recipe follows)

Cook the rice in salted boiling water for about 12 min. Drain and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven too 400°F.
Cut stems from the peppers. Deseed and devein.
Heat some of the oil in a small skillet and fry the onion just until it wilts.
Remove to a bowl along with the meat, egg, cheese, parsley, oregano and rice and mix well to combine.
Stuff the peppers with the mixture.
Pour some oil in the bottom of a baking dish, place the peppers in it and place in oven for 20 minutes turning the peppers every 5 minutes or so until they are lightly brown.
Pour in enough of the tomato sauce to barely cover the peppers and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Let set 10 minutes before serving.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce

1 quart of passata or one 28-oz can and one 14-oz can of plum tomatoes passed through a food mill.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (optional)
1 dried Calabrian hot pepper, chopped (or chili flakes to taste) (optional)
One bunch of basil

In a pot, place the passata, oil and garlic and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Add salt and sugar (if using) to taste.
Turn off the heat and let basil steep for a good five minutes.
Remove garlic and basil and strain through a mesh strainer pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to let the sauce drip back into the pan.

As I mentioned on the show, I lost my original recipe for stuffed cabbage leaves. This is not a bad one and I've used it several times. But just a word to the wise cook: Do not keep recipes in a regular manila folder unless you really don't want them!!!!
Nuff sed!

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

1 pound ground lamb
1 large egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup water
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Several grinding of fresh black pepper
1 head cabbage
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
1 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of one lemon

Core cabbage and plunge into salted boiling water until the first layers of outer leaves are tender. Remove from water, let cool slightly and remove limp leaves. Repeat the process until you have 12 leaves for stuffing. Save any leaves not big enough for stuffing. Set aside.
Mix together the meat,egg, breadcrumbs, rice, water, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat the tomato puree, water, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a large skillet until sugar is dissolved.
Trim the thick bottom off the leaves to make sure they are supple enough to roll.
With the bottom of the leaf facing you, place some stuffing in the leaf and bring the sides in then roll it up away from you. Place it seam side down in the skillet. Repeat with the remainder of the leaves.
If there is not enough sauce to cover the rolls, add water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours shaking the skillet every so often to make sure the rolls do not stick.

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