Sunday, March 17, 2013

Oh-so-yummy stuffed peppers

Lately the idiom "I could eat a horse" has evolved from a fun expression to a very literal -- yet unfortunate -- prophecy for the European consumer.  Reports of horse meat found pretty much everywhere and in everything have made me think twice even when buying horseradish in a jar.  Seems like greedy food producers are going out of their way to make consumers reach the bitter conclusion that nothing will ever surprise them again.

Rest assured -- this recipe has nothing to do with horse meat.  Nonetheless, the horse idiom is definitely appropriate here, as the dish is great for very hungry people.  After trying this, you will want to change the expression to "I'm so hungry I could eat a stuffed pepper."  Sounds much nicer in view of the recent events.

There is no doubt about this: the peppers are very filling. I was totally stuffed after eating two -- one would have been enough, but they are just soooooo delicious I couldn't resist having the second one.  They are great on their own, but you could also serve them as a side dish -- with some meat, potatoes or salad.  

This dish is very healthy and low in fat or calories.  The peppers are stuffed with red lentils, buckwheat, mushrooms and herbs.  Lentils and buckwheat are an excellent source of fibre, proteins, vitamins and minerals -- they are among the healthiest foods out there.  You won't even notice when you become healthier and happier after eating the peppers (ok, ok: this is not a miracle worker -- just very good for you).

The dish requires almost no preparation and is extremely easy to make.  Vegetarians/vegans will love it.  Meat-eaters won't even notice there is no meat there (or they can have it as a side dish with a steak, if they really must have some meat).  

There is also a lot of room for experimenting: you can add any ingredients you like to the stuffing (tomatoes, minced meat, capers, topped with cheese etc.).  But this combination is a perfect balance of flavors, and goes very well with the sweet, soft, delicately cooked pepper.  

Mmm, I can't wait to make this again!

Serves 2

  • 4 red or yellow peppers (firm, fresh, and with thick flesh)
  • 100 g of dry buckwheat roasted groats
  • 100 g of dry red lentils
  • 300 g of mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion or 2 small ones, finely chopped 
  • 400 ml of light vegetable stock (I used bio)
  • 3 tsps of herbes de Provence (I used bio)
  • olive oil (around 1 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper
  • Sauté the onions with the olive oil until golden.  Add the chopped mushrooms, herbes de Provences, and a little bit of salt and pepper.  Sauté until light brown.
  • Chop off the top of the peppers.  Be careful not to make any holes in the lid while doing that.    Cut off the stems if they are too long.  Clean the peppers inside, getting rid of the pips. 
  • Mix the dry buckwheat, lentils and mushrooms in a bowl.  Fill the bottom part of the peppers, leaving around 1 cm of space from the edge.
  • Pour a bit of hot water in a pan, filling it with a layer of around 3 cm.  Put the peppers in a pan, very tightly next to each other.  They will become very soft and slippery, so they must be arranged really tightly or otherwise they might fall over.  
  • Pour the vegetable stock filling each pepper up to the edge.  Cover with the pepper lid.  
  • Cover the pan with the lid.  Let simmer over a small heat for around 40 minutes (yellow peppers are softer than the red ones, so monitor them closely to see if they don't fall apart).
Bon appetit!