Stuffed Peppers

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Pick a Peck of Pretty Peppers

A pretty array of green, red, yellow and orange peppers can be found at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Their sizes vary from that of a golf ball to the large bell peppers we’re all familiar with, and their shapes range from short and fat to long and skinny.

And of course their flavor and heat factor ranges greatly from sweet and mild to hot and spicy. The latter are a great addition to a fresh salsa, or added to a chili to spice it up. One of the easiest way to cook peppers is to slice them thinly and sauté with sliced onion. These sautéed pepper and onions (add mushrooms and garlic, if you want) make a great topping on a steak or a classic sausage and pepper sub sandwich. They can also be used in an omelet or frittata.

The large bell peppers are a perfect shape for stuffing, but any pepper can be stuffed. Just cut a slit down the length of the long Italian frying peppers and lay them on their side to stuff. Pre-blanching the peppers will cut down on the baking time, but it can be skipped for the recipe below.

Stuffed Peppers

6 large sweet bell peppers*

1 large onion*, chopped

2 cloves garlic*, minced

1 1/2 pound zucchini*, diced (about 2 cups)

1 pound ground beef or sweet Italian pork or lamb sausage*

2 medium tomatoes*, chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup sherry (optional)

1 tablespoon each fresh thyme and oregano*

2 tablespoons fresh parsley*

Cut the tops off whole peppers and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Blanch the pepper in boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and cool under cold running water. Set aside.

In a skillet on medium heat cook onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Add zucchini, cook for 5-10 minutes. Add ground beef or sausage removed from casing to onion and zucchini, cook until lightly browned, pour off excess fat.  Add chopped tomatoes and sherry, if desired.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, uncover, and cook for 10-15 minutes longer to evaporate liquid.

Add herbs and season to taste with salt and ground pepper during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Spoon stuffing mixture into peppers. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 330 calories, 10g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 25g protein, 280% DV vitamin C.

This market recipe appears courtesy of Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension and The Saratogian. Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.

For information about food and nutrition, contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995 or email dwhitten@cornell.edu.