Tag Archives: stuffed peppers

Stuff Your Peppers for a Snow Day

The sun’s out today but we won’t be working in the fields. They’re still blanketed in this week’s super snow, giving me time to post about one of our favorite winter meals, Stonebridge Stuffed Peppers, which we made for last night’s dinner. (While they were baking, the sky turned an amazing shade of blue.)

DSC_0398

The first blue sky we’d seen in days, brilliant blue right before twilight, framing the evergreen and apple trees by the guesthouse, a former chickenhouse.

I wrote about this recipe a year and a half ago because Women Thrive Worldwide, an organization that promotes women’s opportunities and rights in developing countries, included it in their $2 a Day recipe campaign to highlight the fact that millions of people live on very little income—2.5 million on less than $1 a day.  You can view the recipe here on their website or with more pictures here on mine.

The only thing I’d add now is to put ¼ inch of water in the bottom of the pan to help the peppers steam as they bake, especially if you’re making them without some kind of salsa or marinara on top.

We grow our own peppers and the vegetables we use to stuff them. We make a lot of our own cheese. If we didn’t, this recipe would cost more than $2 to make in this country, but it is still a very low cost, healthy meal that can be prepared quickly, is filling, and tastes great the next day too.

DSC_5409

A poblano pepper on the vine. We trellis these peppers because the vines grow four feet high and are filled with peppers.

Stonebridge Stuffed Peppers also takes advantage of how easy it is to freeze peppers, the wonder vegetable of what we call “high summer”—August and September and even into October until the first frost on Colorado’s Front Range. We use poblanos but any pepper with a filling-sized cavity, sweet or hot, will do. To freeze peppers, you can either core them and freeze them whole as shells for winter stuffing or core and slice them to freeze for sautéing in stir fries or sauces. No blanching required. You don’t even need to thaw them before using. Just pull the shells out of their freezer bags and fill. How easy is that?

What also makes stuffed peppers remarkable is that you can fill them with whatever you have on hand. Really. Our filling is usually a quartet of whatever cooked grains/grated or sliced raw veggies/cheese/nuts we have in the fridge and pantry.

DSC_5051

Baskets of poblanos in the barn

If you’ve got the ingredients ready to go, it only takes a few minutes to put this dish together. I’d already cooked the quinoa at lunch, so I threw the ingredients together while John walked out to the bluehouse to get spinach.  Talk about easy. It’s the equivalent of the 1950s casserole but, with its fresh ingredients, much more healthful. I hope you’ll try them! And then let us know: What do you stuff in your peppers?

Note: For people in the Boulder area, Stonebridge is hosting the monthly Mile High food swap this Sunday. You can see a video of last fall’s Stonebridge swap here. We’d love to have you join us so sign up here!

4 Comments

Filed under sustainable agriculture

Stuffed Peppers: A $2 Meal

I’m a supporter of a dedicated non-profit organization called Women Thrive Worldwide that advocates for women’s economic opportunities and rights internationally. I met WTW’s founder, Ritu Sharmu, years ago in Denver at a global women’s rights conference and was impressed by her commitment to increasing our government’s support for policies and budget priorities that help women around the world lift themselves out of poverty. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, Ritu lived on $1 a day in Burkina Faso, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to better understand the way many people in the world survive today. WTW also raises awareness of how global crises like famine, war, recession, and natural disasters place a disproportionate burden on women through sexual violence, food insecurity, increased family responsibilities, and social barriers.

Right now, Women Thrive Worldwide is asking for meal ideas, stories, and recipes as part of their Help Women Feed the World campaign. To recognize the fact that 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day, WTW is asking people to cook just one meal for that amount. By growing our own food at Stonebridge, we eat pretty economically, but $2 a meal is still a challenge. Tonight I’ve made stuffed peppers for two people that, I hope, would not cost more than $2 if you either grew the peppers yourself or got them at a farmer’s market or grocery store. I submitted our stuffed pepper recipe and was selected for the Women Feed the World Campaign. Click here to see my recipe and learn more about this fabulous campaign, including $2/meal recipes from around the world.

Here are more pictures and the story I wrote for Women Thrive Worldwide: 

My partner and I have an organic community-supported agricultural farm (CSA) in Colorado. From August through October, we harvest lots of different kinds of peppers and love to make stuffed peppers in a variety of ways. Before the first hard frost comes to the garden, we pick all the peppers and share them with our members. If you don’t grow your own or are a member of a CSA, peppers are also an economical choice at farmer’s markets or grocery stores.

The great gift of peppers is that they’re so easy to freeze: you don’t have to do anything but core out the stem and seed pod, chop or slice them, or leave them whole to freeze for stuffing later. When you’re ready to make stuffed peppers, pull them out of the freezer, stuff, and bake—no need to thaw first.

Our stuffings always include a mixture of grain (bulgar, quinoa, rice), nuts or seeds (walnuts, sunflower, sesame), grated or finely diced veggies (carrot, more peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, summer squash), and some grated or crumbled cheese (feta, Monterey jack, or parmesan), although cheese is optional if it’s over your $2 budget or for a vegan diet. For extra protein, add cooked lentils or small beans. Buying grains and legumes in bulk saves money; I always make a double batch so I have enough for a couple of meals.

Mix the ingredients in about equal amounts, season the mixture with fresh or dried herbs like parsley, basil, or oregano and a little salt and pepper, and stuff into a cored and seeded pepper like a green or colored bell, poblano, anaheim, or even skinny Jimmy Nardello sweet red peppers. Stuff firmly but don’t pack too hard so that the stuffing can bake inside the pepper. You can top each pepper with a dollop of marinara or enchilada sauce if it’s in your budget but they’re still delicious with no sauce at all. (If the skin gets a little scorched, you can peel it off.)

Bake in a low-sided, oiled roasting or cake pan at 395 for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of the pepper. Once the pepper’s soft and a little wrinkled, it’s ready to eat.

Tonight I stuffed poblano peppers with a mixture of cooked bulgar, grated carrot, chopped fresh flat parsley, sesame seeds, red lentils, and grated Romano cheese. (To cook bulgar, add 1 cup grain to 2 ½ cup boiling water, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. For red lentils, bring 2 cups water to a boil, add 1 cup rinsed lentils, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. You should have enough of both ingredients to stuff 8 good-sized bell peppers.)

In the US, our cuisine is often based on separate protein, grains, and vegetables on a plate and we think it’s bare if it’s not “filled out” this way, but in much of the world, these components are mixed together to form a single main dish. Stuffed peppers is exactly that—a bundle of wholesome ingredients that together create something greater than the parts!

To help Women Thrive Worldwide in their work for global women’s empowerment, join their Dollar a Day Circle

4 Comments

Filed under sustainable agriculture