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A Beautiful Nightshade

It sometimes surprises me when a standard recipe hasn’t come up on my radar. I’m one who doesn’t really like ground beef so I’ve never made stuffed peppers. I know, it seems odd to me too; most people eat them with enthusiasm. So when my wife asked me to make them, I wondered what I needed to change so I would be enthusiastic too? I immediately swapped out the ground beef for ground lamb. I also wanted them to be visually appealing, not buried under a bunch of cheese making the pepper unidentifiable. So instead of covering them with cheese I incorporated feta in the meat mixture, giving them a Greek theme. I gave them a little whimsy by standing them up with little hats, instead of cutting them in half and laying them down. The final product turned out so good I will have them on a regular rotation. Who knew? You can teach an old dog new tricks.

GREEK STUFFED PEPPERS

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 pound grass-fed ground lamb

  2. 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided

  3. 4-6 large colored sweet peppers (I like red & yellow), Cut the tops of at about 3/4 of an inch, removing the stem of each pepper, remove membranes and seeds.

  4. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  5. 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced

  7. 1 teaspoon oregano

  8. 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

  9. Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  10. 2 cups tomato sauce, preferably homemade, divided

  11. 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  12. 1 cup cooked rice, or other grain of choice

  13. 8 ounces feta, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Set oven rack to middle position.

  2. Depending on the number of peppers you are using, place the peppers cut side up, in a 8×8 or 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place each pepper top on peppers. Cover with foil (shiny side toward peppers), and place in oven for 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion and saute stirring frequently, until translucent about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more; do not brown. Add ground lamb, salt, pepper and oregano and increase heat to medium-high, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Cook until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 of tomato sauce, tomato paste and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, uncovered until meat is cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Add the rice, stir to combine. Take off heat and add feta.

  4. Remove peppers from oven and spoon the remaining tomato sauce around the peppers. Fill each pepper with meat mixture, and cover with the tops of each pepper. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

  5. Spoon tomato sauce in shallow bowl, place a pepper on top of sauce, and spoon additional sauce over pepper. Serve hot.

Good food & a warm kitchen, are what make a house a home.”
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