Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘peppers’

My mother-in-law Patsy is from New Orleans and she is a great cook.  She can do all of the New Orleans specialties – homemade beignets, crawfish etouffee, shrimp creole, turkey and sausage gumbo, etc.  She serves dirty rice as a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in place of stuffing or mashed potatoes.  This dish is so incredibly flavorful.  I sometimes serve it as our main course for dinner with a side salad.  Every Mardi Gras (this year it’s on Tues., March 4th), I cook something traditional for dinner (complete with colorful bead necklaces and silly hats) so the boys will be aware of their heritage.  Note: if the organ meat in the recipe grosses you out, try it without and I bet it would still be good.  The original recipe calls for all organ meat, but instead, I use mostly ground beef and add just a bit of organ meat, which gives the dish a complex and rich flavor.  Chicken livers and gizzards, although high in cholesterol, do offer a ton of vitamins and minerals (iron and zinc) and protein and are fine in moderation.  You can ask for chicken livers and gizzards at the meat counter at Whole Foods.

Dirty rice

Recipe adapted from The New Orleans Cookbook.

Dirty Rice

Serves 4.

“Dirty rice is a popular Cajun dish made with chicken livers and gizzards, vegetables, long grain rice and lots of pepper.  It is served as an accompaniment to poultry and meat.  If the main dish has a gravy, you pour some of it over the dirty rice.  Don’t use leftover rice warmed up; the dish will have an unpleasant texture.”

Ingredients:

1/4 pound chicken gizzards

1/4 pound chicken livers

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

1 2/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley

3 cups Boiled Rice (see below)

Directions:

Add chicken gizzards and chicken livers to a small pot of boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and purée in blender (I use a Mini Prep Processor).  Set aside only 1 tablespoon of this puréed organ meat for the recipe; discard the rest.  Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or Le Creuset and cook the ground meat until it begins to brown.  Add the flour, garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper and mix well.  Cook until the vegetables begin to turn soft and slightly brown.  Add 1 tablespoon of puréed organ meat to the skillet along with the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, most of the parsley, and 2 tablespoons of water.  Cook over low heat for a few more minutes, adding a bit more water during cooking if necessary.  Remove skillet from heat.  Toss in the cooked rice and stir; serve hot.  Garnish with a bit of parsley.

Boiled Rice

“Firm, fluffy, freshly prepared boiled rice is the essential accompaniment to so many of our dishes… Rice is served with gumbos, bean dishes, crawfish bisque, etoufees, and many other dishes.  Preparing it this way takes only 15 minutes, very little more than any pre-cooked convenience rice, and gives you the superb texture and flavor only freshly cooked rice has.  The tiny amount of butter keeps the grains from sticking together.”

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups cold water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon salted butter

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir once with a fork, then cover tightly and reduce the heat to very low.  Cook covered for exactly 15 minutes.  Do not lift the cover during cooking.  Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Note: the rice will keep warm enough for serving second helpings if you use a heavy saucepan and keep it covered after serving.  Another way to keep the extra rice warm is to put the covered saucepan in a pre-heated 175 degree oven.  Do not keep it warm for more than 25 minutes.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

My mother-in-law “Cille” made this for our family when she was visiting and we loved it.  It’s healthy and tasty, it’s a meal in and of itself, it doesn’t make a huge mess in your kitchen, it can be made ahead (I love this!), and you can easily freeze extras for a future dinner.  She used to make this all the time for her four hungry boys growing up (they loved this in high school).  I thought I would take a crack at updating this classic.  For the bell peppers, I substitute yellow and orange peppers for the traditional green peppers (I still make a green one for my husband who is nostalgic!)  Instead of hamburger meat, I use ground bison (it’s healthier and I think tastes so much better).  Instead of white rice, I use farro (it has a nice chewy texture and is fiber rich and is full of minerals) and you can also use pearl barley (also a great source of fiber and can lower cholesterol) or just brown rice.

Meat Stuffed Bell Peppers

Adapted from my mother-in-law Cille’s recipe and one from Emeril Lagasse.

Meat Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

6 bell peppers (try a mix of colors), tops cut away and seeds removed

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 pound ground Bison meat (can substitute turkey)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cups cooked farro or pearl barley (or brown rice)

8-ounce can tomato sauce (Muir Glen Organic)

shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the bison meat, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 5 minutes. Pour off any excess fat. Add the farro or barley and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Top each pepper with plenty of shredded cheese. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

1 Comment