Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Ratatouille" Stuffed Peppers

One of the grocery stores had green bell peppers on sale this week, so I picked out three beautiful ones with stuffed peppers in mind. Traditional stuffed peppers, with egg-bound filling, are out for us, so I decided to improvise, using what we had on hand. It turns out we didn't have as much instant brown rice as I had thought, so we went heavy on the veggies. Onions, the tops of the peppers, a delicata squash that was sitting in the fridge, canned tomatoes and garlic. As I was mixing the filling, my middle son said, "It looks like ratatouille." (Yes, I have kids that actually know what ratatouille is, and even like it.) Although it doesn't have eggplant like traditional ratatouille--only because we didn't have any; it very well could--it seemed like as good a name as any. So, here it is, Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers.

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers

3-4 large, symmetrical bell peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small delicata squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
14 1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup instant brown rice, cooked

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut tops off peppers and scoop out the guts. Reserve the tops for later. Place in a steamer basket in a large pot with a little water. Bring to a boil and steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Cut usable parts from pepper tops and dice. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add diced peppers, onion, squash and garlic, and sauté until veggies are tender. Scoop into a bowl and add tomatoes with their juice and cooked rice.

Arrange peppers in a small baking dish. Fill each pepper with the filling, pressing down slightly. If there is leftover filling, arrange it around the bases of the peppers.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until heated through. My kids decided that it really needed cheese, so they sprinkled Cheddar on top, but you could easily forego that and have vegan stuffed peppers. Makes 3-4 servings.