Monday, February 20, 2012
Guess what tomorrow is? It's Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday! This marks the last chance to indulge before 40 days of Lent sets in. It usually involves a lot of drinking, eating, carousing and parade attending. It's basically my kind of holiday. :-) But this year I'm not in New Orleans for the festivities but figured I could celebrate in spirit. I found a way to go "slim" though without losing any of the flavor with a beautiful and healthy riff on a stuffed pepper—Cajun style. It tastes sinfully good.
This dish is perfect for entertaining (easy, impressive and delicious) so you don't have to miss out on any of the fun. Invite some friends over, make one of these traditional New Orleans cocktails, and throw some beads at each other. Shirt lifting is optional . . . .
Happy Mardi Gras!
Cajun Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from The Food Network magazine
1 package frozen brown rice (or 1 cup long-grain brown rice)
1/2 cup quinoa
2 large red or green bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 lb cooked andouille sausage, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Large pinch of allspice
1 14-oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)
1. Cook frozen rice in microwave according to directions. If you're using conventional rice, prepare according to directions. Place 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup quinoa, simmer and cook 12 minutes. Mix together and set both aside.
2. Meanwhile, drizzle peppers with 1 Tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave 10 minutes.
3. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
4. Heat olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, garlic, thyme, allspice and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring, until the sausage is brown and crisp, about 3 more minutes.
5. Add the rice mixture, as well as the tomatoes and 1 cup water, to the pan. Pile the kale on top, cover and cook until the kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Stir the kale into the sauce and simmer until liquid is mostly reduced and kale is tender, another 8-10 minutes. Check seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
6. Spoon heaping spoonfuls of rice mixture into each half of the softened peppers until very full. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in over for approximately 30 minutes or until heated thoroughly.
Posted by SB in SB at 7:55 AM