Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers & Green Rice

(a Twist on a recipe by Rachel Ray)

No wine in this one.  Serve with 2010 or 2011 Pinot Grigio Rose.
DON’T  PANIC – THIS LOOKS MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT IS!

4 C. chicken or veggie stock
1 bay leaf
2 C uncooked brown rice (yes, white will work too)
2 large red or green bell peppers
6 ears of corn on the cob, or 3 C. frozen corn kernels
3 T vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded, membranes removed, and chopped
4 cloves garlic, or 2 heaping spoonsful of crushed garlic from a jar
1 ½ t. ground cumin
½ t. dried oregano
¼ C-ish of fire roasted tomato salsa
1 small handful (about ½ C.) cilantro leaves—or use flat leaf parsley
1 bag of baby spinach leaves—or, if you insist, ½ lb of spinach leaves that you have to carefully clean yourself!
4 green onions, chopped
2 limes
1 C. shredded reduced-fat (Mrs. Vino is trying to watch her girlish figure) Monterey Jack cheese

FIRST: Heat 3 ½ C. stock in a sauce pan with the bay leaf until it boils. Add rice, cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for the amount of time listed on the package (it will vary for white or brown rice) MINUS 5 minutes.

THEN: preheat your oven to bake, 350 degrees.

NEXT: Remove corn from cobs. OR, microwave frozen corn, then dry it on a clean kitchen towel. Chop onion and Jalapeno. Zest limes. Remove top, seeds and membranes from the 2 large bell peppers. Heat 2T of vegetable oil (Olive oil won’t get hot enough) in a sauce pan over high heat. When oil begins to ripple a bit and smoke a tiny bit, dump in the onion, jalapeno and corn. BE CAREFUL, the oil is hot and if the corn is still damp, it will spit.  That’s why you need to dry it well. Stir occasionally, but not too much, you want the veggies to brown. It will take about 4-5 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cook another minute, then take the pan off the heat. Add the salsa and sprinkle the lime juice over the corn.

AFTER THAT: Put the cilantro, spinach, scallions, lime zest, ½ C of stock and 1T of oil in a food processor and whirl it until it is a gooey green paste. NOW: Fill the bell peppers half full with the corn mixture. Add a sprinkle of cheese. More filling and top with cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

FINALLY: When the rice is 5 minutes from being done, add the gooey green herb paste and stir. Let rice cook the remaining 5 minutes. When the stuffed bell pepper is ready, the sides of the pepper will be crisp/soft. Serve with rice. Top with another spoonful of salsa or your favorite enchilada sauce, if desired.

Note, the Green rice is also fabulous as a side without the stuffed peppers.  Serve it with barbecued chicken or grilled fish!

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