Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Re-Mix: Stuffed Peppers Edition

At first glance, this post is going to look like it won't be of much use to you - especially if you don't have any leftover pork stuffing hanging around. And though I'll include a recipe, its not really about the recipe. Its about using what you've got. Its about recycling and remixing. And, most of all, its about playing with your food.

If you've got a fridge full of holiday leftovers mocking you every time you open the door, this post is for you. And, honestly, it doesn't much matter what kind of leftovers you've got - anything will do. Mainly we're talking about a technique here; recombining and recreating a little magic from the scraps of the holiday. If you have some meat stuffing, great! If not, feel free to use bread stuffing. No stuffing at all? I'm sure you could use mashed potatoes.

The same goes double for the vegetables and spices I've used. Go right ahead and play around with them. You could use almost anything in both the sauce and the stuffing. Do as you see fit and cook with what you've got!

Stuffed Peppers:
For the Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 rib of celery, leave included, diced
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1/4 cup of dry red wine
  • one 15 ounce can of plain tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and to it add the carrots, celery and onions. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and saute until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have softened a bit, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the paprika and the ras el hanout, stir to combine and saute for one minute. Add the red wine, stir and saute until reduced by half. Add the tomato sauce, the vinegar, the broth, the dill and the parsley, stir well, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat and reserve.

For the Peppers
  • 2 large bell peppers, any color
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of leftover pork or meat stuffing or dressing
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (or bulgar, brown rice or couscous)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped tukey
  • 1/4 cup of leftover gravy
  • some chopped fresh dill
  • some chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned dried whole wheat bread crumbs, for topping
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, for topping
Slice the peppers in half length-wise and remove the stems, cores and seeds. Reserve.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and to it add the shallots and carrots. Saute until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pork stuffing and the quinoa, stirring well to combine. Add the turkey and the gravy, stir and allow it to melt into the meat mixture. Add the parsley and dill, stir well to combine, then remove from heat and reserve.

In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese, dried bread crumbs and chopped parsley together. Reserve.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

To stuff the peppers: Place the reserved sauce in the bottom of an oven safe baking dish, and nestle the peppers, skin side down, into the sauce. Fill the inside of the peppers with the reserved meat and quinoa mixture. Top each of the stuffed peppers with some of the Parmesan and bread crumb mixture and dot with a little bit of butter. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and allow the peppers to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and the peppers are just beginning to soften. Serve drizzled with some sauce from the bottom of the pan and a dusting of fresh herbs. Enjoy!

My objective in adding all of that dill, and the ras el hanout and vinegar, to the sauce was to make something that did not taste like Thanksgiving! ... And, it didn't. The resulting sauce was well balanced; a bit spicy, slightly tangy and the perfect foil for the rich pork stuffing. If you're not a fan of dill, by all means feel free to substitute. Ditto for the quinoa - any cooked rice, grain or pasta would work as well.

I'll be submitting both this dish and the Baked Eggs in Stuffing Cups to 5 Star Foodie's Thanksgiving Leftovers Make-Over Challenge. Be sure to check out 5 Star Foodie on Monday, December 7th for a full round-up of all the leftover creations!

Stay tuned for my Thirsty Thursdays give-away tomorrow ... it will be most unusual and refreshing!

Bon appetit!


Anonymous said...

Very creative to make stuffed peppers! And I love your sauce, it sounds super flavorful! Thank you so much for participating!

pixegal said...

This looks delicious, Diva dear. But what on earth is ras el hanout? I gather it's a spice but one I've never seen out here in bumpkin land. Any substitutions?
I'm looking at leftovers tonight but have been avoiding them all week, choosing a hamburger for last night's dinner instead. But tonight they're calling me out loud! Thanks to you I may be able to do something with them.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Wow, this looks delicious, I like that you added quinoa to the stuffing!

The Diva on a Diet said...

5 Star - thanks so much for hosting this fun event. I can't wait to read about the other dishes!

Pixelgal - oops, sorry about that ... ras el hanout is a middle eastern spice blend that, translated literally, means "top of the shop". Every spice shop makes its own unique blend, and I use a purchased blend (I got it in Munich!) but here's a link for a recipe on Epicurious:

In any case, use whatever spices you like, it will be delicious!

FLB - thanks! I was pretty happy about the quinoa too ... especially since I had an open bag of it just begging to be used! :)

doggybloggy said...

excellent entries - job well done!

Laura said...

stuffed peppers are a new pleasure for me. I hated them as a kid blech! recently I discovered that I did in fact love stuffed peppers. My kids? not so much. I'll be stuffing some soon now that I've remembered them :)

Megan said...

I love stuffed peppers! I've used rice and Israeli couscous to stuff them but not quinoa so that sounds interesting. Your sauce also sounds very elaborate and flavorful. I usually just use a boring can of tomato sauce. I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe!

Tangled Noodle said...

So glad pixegal asked first about ras el hanout! 8-)

There is nothing 'leftover-ish' about this dish! It's totally amazing - I love stuffed peppers and all the seasonings you've used promise such great flavor.

justjoycee said...

looks delicious....

Melissa Good Taste said...

I made Stuffed Peppers and blogged about it a week or so ago! Aren't they great?!

stephchows said...

man you must have made a TON of stuffing lol

Judy said...

Wonderful idea for leftovers. Thanks for sharing.

The Duo Dishes said...

A turkey, dressing and fresh cranberry stuffed pepper could be nice, come to think of it. You can reuse leftovers in so many ways.

Christina said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I love stuffed peppers for using up leftovers too! In fact, I coincedentally have them on "the menu" for tomorrow night! Yummy! :)