Stuffed red peppers

Due to the nature of the food that is available in the local markets and supermarkets around us the majority of the food I make is seasonal.  At the moment I am having to find inventive ways to cook peppers, courgettes, aubergines as they are just so cheap.  I love these types of vegetables in curries or just simply roasted, however, it is just too hot for that type of food at the moment.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been making stuffed peppers as they are a little bit different and look very pretty on a plate with some salad.  I find stuffed peppers are relatively simple to make and the other joy with them is you can  turn them into a great vegetarian option by simply removing the meat from the recipe and they are just as tasty.  I tend to use blue cheese as I just love its taste, however mozzarella works very nicely as well.

Stuffed Red Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 150g minced beef
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 4 red peppers
  • 1 aubergine (cut into slices – you’ll need 8)
  • 3 medium sized courgettes (cut in thin slices)
  • 8 slices of a blue cheese (in the past I’ve used either a cambozola or bleu dAuvergne)
  • olive oil for cooking with

Steps:

1.   Preheat an oven to 190C fan.

2.   In a pan heat some oil on a low heat, add the onions, garlic and sugar, cook until the onion is soft.

3.   Add the minced beef to the pan, stirring occasionally until the meat has browned.

4.   Finally add to the pan the tomatoes, thyme, tomato purée, season with salt and pepper and leave it to simmer on a low heat whilst you prepare the vegetables.

5.   Lay the slices of aubergine out on a tea-towel or some kitchen towel, sprinkle some salt over the aubergines on both side and cover with another tea-towel or kitchen towel and leave for about 5 minutes. (This is to draw out some of the bitterness of the aubergine).

6.   Heat a little oil in a saucepan on a medium heat.  In batches cook the aubergine for roughly 1-2 minutes on each side until they are soft.  Once the aubergines are cooked quickly pan fry all the courgette slices in a little bit of oil to give them a little colour this should take no longer than 2 minutes.

7.   Remove the cores from the red peppers and place the peppers on a small tray (I use a muffin tray so that they stay upright).

8.   Now make up each of the stuffed peppers in the following order – packing the ingredients in fairly tightly:

  • 1 heaped tbsp of the meat sauce
  • A slice of aubergine
  • A layer of courgette slices
  • A Slice of cheese
  • 1 heaped tbsp of the meat sauce
  • A slice of aubergine
  • A layer of courgette slices
  • A Slice of cheese.

9.   Place the peppers into the oven for 35-40 minutes.

10.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly (about 5-10 minutes) before serving otherwise you run the risk of burning your mouth, and nobody wants that…

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