My family is definitely meat lovers. Now that is not to say that they don’t get their vegetables and fruit. On occasions I have been known to serve a no meat dinner. We never call it vegetarian, just “no meat.” When I do the meaty dinners you can bet that I slip in those vegetables. My meatloaf is always loaded with vegetables. Another great meal to serve that get those all-important vitamins and grains hidden in all that meat is STUFFED BELL PEPPERS.
The stuff you need:
- 1 Sauté Pan 12”-18”
- 1 4-6 qtr. Pot of water heated to a boil
- 1 large bowl of ice water
- 1 – 9X 12 baking pan (casserole)
- Aluminum foil
- 2 tbsp. Trader Joes Garlic Olive Oil
- 1 cup Trader Joe’s Mire Poix (yup – this stuff is great)
- 1 to 1-1/2lb of ground beef or ground turkey
- 2 tsp dried herbs
- Diced bell pepper pieces form the pepper tops
- 1 cup of leftover rice, lentils, Joe’s Multigrain blend with vegetables or whatever you have
- 1 cup spaghetti sauce or even ketchup will work. ½ cup for the filling and ½ cup for the topping)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (more if you like)
- 1 tsp. soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
- Salt and pepper to taste (I really like Lawry’s Season Salt)
- Approximately 2 ½ cup of shredded cheese (your choice)
Pour oil into pan at medium- high heat. Allow to heat and add the Mire poix, dried herbs and diced peppers and sauté until veggies are still slightly firm. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Now add your ground meat and cook until no longer pink. Next add your rice, lentils, or whatever you have. Stir together and add spaghetti sauce, Worcestershire, soy sauce or Braggs. Adjust seasonings. Remove from heat. Now add half of your cheese and mix together.
6 medium sized bell peppers combination of red, yellow and orange. I don’t particularly care for the green ones.
Cut tops off of the peppers and remove seeds and fibrous membrane. Rinse. Take the pepper tops and pull off the stems and cut into small dice and reserve. We are going to add them to our filling.
With tongs, submerge 2 peppers in the prepared pot of hot water at a time. Leave for about 2 minutes. Remove and turn upside down to drain and submerge again in your bowl of iced water. Remove from water, drain and place on the baking pan and continue the same method with the remaining peppers. Lightly salt the interior of the peppers.
Fill with prepared stuffing. Top with spaghetti sauce, ketchup or even BBQ sauce.
Place in oven preheated to 375 degrees. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes Remove foil, top with your favorite cheese and pop back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.
If you have been following my blog you will have noticed I use a lot of the Trader Joe’s Mirepoix, the mixture or melody of vegetables incorporated into a dish, like my stuffed Bell Peppers. It’s a great way to hide those essential vegetables loaded with all those more important vitamins and get them into your persnickety kids.
These combined diced vegetables are a cooking technique that is probably older than time itself. I can imagine a Homo sapiens or Cro-magnum Man crouching down over his stone cutting board using his sabretooth tusk knife cutting up the food he found lying around to put into his Simple Gourmet dish. The term mirepoix dates back to a 18th century Frenchman by the cuisine chef by the name of Charles-Pierre-Gaston Francois de Levis, duc de Levis-Mirepoix (1699-1757). He as a field marshal and ambassador and a member of the noble family of Levis, lords of Mirepoix (kind of getting where the name came from?) in Languedoc. According to Pierre Larousse (Oxford Companion to Food) the duke of Mirepoix as “an incompetent and mediocre individual who owed his vast fortune to the affections of Louis XV”. His only claim to fame is, you guessed it, gave his name to a sauce made of all kinds of meat and a variety of seasonings.
The term is not encountered regularly in French culinary texts until the 19th century, so it is difficult to know what a dish à la mirepoix was like in 18th-century France. Beauvilliers for instance, in 1814, gives a short recipe for a Sauce à la Mirepoix which is a buttery, wine-laced stock garnished with an aromatic mixture of carrots, onions, and a bouquet garni. Careme in the 1830s, gives a similar recipe, calling it simply Mire-poix; and, by the mid-19th century, Gouffe refers to a mirepoix as “a term in use for such a long time that I do not hesitate to use it here”. His mirepoix is listed among essences and, indeed, is a meaty concoction, which, like all other essences, was used to enrich many a classic sauce. By the end of the 19th century, the mirepoix had taken on its modern meaning and Joseph Favre in his Dictionnaire universel de cuisine (c. 1895, reprinted 1978) uses the term to describe a mixture of ham, carrots, onions, and herbs used as an aromatic condiment when making sauces or braising meat.
According to the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique, a mirepoix may be prepared “au gras” (with meat) or “au maigre” (“lean”). Mirepoix au maigre is sometimes called a brunoise. A mirepoix au gras contains diced ham or pork belly as an additional ingredient. Similar combinations, both in and out of the French culinary repertoire, may include leeks, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chilies, and ginger, according to the requirements of the regional cuisine or the instructions of the particular chef or recipe.
I find it interesting, because of my past blog on Jambalaya that in Cajun and Creole cuisine, a mirepoix is called “holy trinity” and is a combination of onions, celery and bell peppers.
Traditionally, the weight ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots; the ratio for bones to mirepoix for stock is 10:1. When making a white stock, or fond blanc, parsnips are used instead of carrots to maintain the pale color.
Once again I thank Wikipedia.
Coming soon, our StayCruise adventure.
Live Well – Eat Well