A Two for Tuesday Recipe
I haven't made stuffed pepper in ages, but last week I was inspired by a recipe post on stuffed peppers and tomatoes by the wonderful folks at +Little CookingTips. I was inspired to revive and update an old recipe I developed a few years back. I use to make this recipe with ground beef, orzo and mozzarella, now I've switched over to ground turkey, quinoa and goat cheese.
The turkey lightens the heaviness that can come from beef, but because of the seasonings, it packs one heck of a flavor punch. The sauteed onions and sun-dried tomatoes added to the turkey, deepen and enhance the flavor, as well as, adding moisture. The soft creaminess of the goat cheese compliment the turkey and the simple, yet rich, tomato-based sauce the stuffed peppers are cooked in. The Hub, who is my culinary gauge as to whether a recipe is a success or not, had seconds and happily took the leftovers to have at lunch the next day. All in all, I can confidently say this revision was a smash hit. I hope you enjoy it too!
Serves 4 - 6
1 pound ground turkey*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup water
1 cup cooked quinoa*
pepper to taste
6 bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
Trimmings from the tops of the peppers, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup white wine
14 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 pinches of salt
Olive oil to drizzle
8 oz goat cheese, divided in half
Season turkey with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Mix well.
Depending on the size of the pepper, remove tops or cut in half length wise. remove seeds and membranes. Place on top of a steamer rack in a pot and steam until softened, about 5-8 minutes. I used a steamer kit for the microwave and that worked great. Once done, set aside to cool.
Heat a stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add oil, followed by the shallots and red onions. Add 1 pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Cook an additional 3 minutes. Stir in 1/8 of a cup of the white wine to deglaze pan. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove half of the onion mixture and mix it, the quinoa and the 1/8 cup of water into the seasoned turkey.
To the remaining onion mixture in the pan add whole tomatoes and any juices and break apart with your fingers into pan, tomato paste, brown sugar and remaining white wine, 2 pinches of salt and pepper. Cook sauce for 10-15 minutes over low heat. Add small splashes of white wine if it becomes dry.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Break up 4 ounces of the goat cheese into the turkey, mix in well. Stuff each pepper with turkey mixture. Once sauce is ready, spoon a 1/4 of it on the bottom of the baking dish. Place each stuffed pepper in baking dish and spoon 1 tablespoon of the sauce over each pepper. Then spoon remaining sauce around the peppers. Drizzle olive oil over peppers. Break up the remaining goat cheese and sprinkle over each pepper. Place baking dish in oven and bake for 45-50 minute.
Serve with quinoa, rice or a salad. ENJOY!
I prefer ground turkey that is a mix of white and dark meat. I find all white ground turkey is just too bland, the dark meat adds just the right amount of fat that produces deeper flavor when cooked. If you prefer all white, feel free to substitute.
Quinoa (keen-wah) looks like couscous but has a deeper, richer flavor. It is the seed of the Goosefoot plant and is used as if it were a grain, when cooked. It is quite versatile and very healthy. Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein and is the only plant based food that contains the nine essential amino acids our bodies need. If you do not like quinoa or do not have it at your local market, you can use couscous instead.