Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Red Peppers Stuffed with Orzo and Feta Cheese
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Our weather continues to be uncharacteristically warm and Bob has been uncharacteristically hungry. Despite the heat, he's been felling trees and that kind of work demands calories to stoke the fire. I decided to do a mini Mediterranean feast for his supper tonight. I pan grilled double cut lamb chops and served them with an Israeli salad and orzo stuffed peppers that are reminiscent of those served in the Greek isles. The peppers are lovely and add great color to the table. While they take time to cook, they are really easy to do and they are a relative bargain at this time of year. I can't help but add they would also be wonderful entree for Meatless Monday. Sweet peppers are slowly making their way to our green markets and in another month we'll be able to buy them four to the dollar. Even now they are a bargain when compared to their winter prices. I had six gorgeous bright red bell peppers that needed attention and this dish was a perfect way to enjoy their luscious summer flavor. The recipe on which the peppers are based was developed by Gordon Hamersley for Fine Cooking Magazine over a decade ago. I keep very few recipes for that length of time, so you know in my book it's a keeper. This is one of those recipes I play with. I suspect you will to. There are times I add pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes to the mix, and others where green olives, raisins and orange zest best suit my fancy of the day. Now, I don't mean to shock you, but I've even been known to follow the recipe exactly as it's was written. If you don't have or like kale, substitute spinach or arugula. If you can't use wine, use water or vegetable stock. I use a white French vermouth to make mine, hearkening back to the days when Julia Child suggested using a good vermouth in place of a mediocre white wine for cooking. I really hope you'll try the peppers. You really can't go wrong. Here's the recipe.
Red Peppers Stuffed with Orzo and Feta Cheese...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Gordon Hamersley
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 medium red onion, cut into large dice
2-1/2 ounces kale, washed and torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups lightly packed)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2/3 cups cooked orzo, cooled (from 3/4 cup raw orzo)
Grated zest from 1/2 lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 pound feta cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
6 medium red bell peppers
1-1/2 cups dry white wine or water
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until moderately hot. Add red onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes.. Add kale and cook, stirring often, until wilted and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2) Combine onion and kale with the orzo, lemon zest, lemon juice, feta cheese, oregano, thyme, parsley, and olives in a large bowl. Toss gently until combined and season with salt and pepper.
3) Slice off top 1/2 inch of each pepper and reserve. With a paring knife, cut away ribs and discard. Turn pepper upside down and pat it to get all the seeds to fall out. Divide orzo filling among peppers. Replace top of each pepper.
4) Place peppers in a medium baking dish and sprinkle them with reserved 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour wine in pan. Bake until peppers are very tender and slightly blackened on top, about 1-1/2 hours. Yield: 6 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Stuffed Green Peppers: Healthy and Delicious - Zesty Flavors
Stuffed Peppers - I Eat Trees
Classic Stuffed Peppers - What's Cookin Chicago
Indian Stuffed Bell Peppers - Sugar Pies
Mediterranean Style Stuffed Peppers - Elle's New England Kitchen
Blast of Color Mexican Stuffed Peppers - Mother Rimmy's Cooking Light Done Right