I never used to be a fan of stuffed peppers. I would come across them once a year or so, stare distastefully at the green blobs simmering in their own juices, and would do my best to avoid seconds. My Subway orders often included the words, "...and everything EXCEPT the green peppers".
We weren't friends.
As one grows older and (at least in my case) generally more adventurous, foods which were once shunned find their way into a diet. A great example: Brussels sprouts with bite.
When I learned that Erin would be coming to visit me for a few days back in late May, I was inspired to give stuffed peppers another shot. In searching for a recipe that we could make together (and in true Conquistador fashion, basing most of my decision off what I had in the refrigerator at the time), I consulted my Epicurious iPhone app. Bunch of zucchini? Check. Sweet Italian sausage that I best use up before leaving home for a couple of months? You know it. A red onion the size of my sister's head? Oddly, yes. Get some rosemary sprigs, a few big peppers, and we're in business. Done.
I'll go on a tangent for a moment - Epicurious, whether accessed via said iPhone app or Epicurious.com, is a great place to look up recipes when you have a general idea what you might like to try... or at least what main ingredients you have. I suggest checking out their site, some of our CulinaryFTW Twitter friends, or the other sites we have listed in the right-hand sidebar of the blog if you ever need suggestions.
here and originated in the May of 1999 Bon Appetit magazine issue as far as I can tell.
I'll leave the cooking instructions to the recipe author this time and focus more on our experience. While we didn't struggle with creating this dish, I will highlight one part of the instructions to which I wish we'd paid more attention... the stuffing can be PREPARED A DAY AHEAD! The required mincing, grating, and sausage skinning may not seem like much, but with a cook time of around an hour, you may not want to spend all of that time cooking at once.
The construction of the dish is not difficult once the stuffing is prepared - you basically mush everything up, stick it in a halved pepper, and bake it. Once out of the oven you can transfer everything to a plate and stick a few rosemary sprigs in for decoration... the result of which was Caesar Pepper once we were finished. A few roses for matching color, a bottle of Rieseling, and you have a romantic dinner.
The peppers were, in our opinion, delicious. We made two peppers (that is four halves, for those of you counting on your fingers), and it was more than enough... We could only eat three halves in one sitting. Presentation-wise, I thought they looked great as well - not the bubbling muck I remembered from my childhood. The idea of using red peppers instead of green was a new one for me, but worked. I have to wonder if one could use green, red, orange and yellow side by side for a neat presentation. Let us know if any of you do as I am curious now!
In the end, this was an all-around success. We may not have come up with the recipe ourselves this time, but if we made them without a struggle, you can too! The way I look at it, discussing culinary arts is as much about sharing good experiences with tasty recipes as it is about disseminating original ideas. We found the dish delicious; let us know your thoughts as well.