I had a very sad realization when I was at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday: the big, beautiful bell peppers I was buying were probably going to be my last for the season. As I picked through the box of peppers, turning each one over to make sure the bottom was flat for better standing-and-stuffing, a chilly gust of wind came whistling through the pavilion. I picked out my four peppers and made my way to the next stand, where I resisted buying pumpkins and butternut squash for another week.
By the next morning, I was breaking out the flannel and thick socks.
So farewell to summer. Farewell to corn on the cob, and fresh berries, and skirts without leggings. Hello to Concord grapes, apples and pears; to winter squash and root vegetables; to cozy flannel and fleece and quilts. As a final parting gift to summer, let’s celebrate the changing season with some stuffed peppers, shall we?
Give leftover roasted chicken new life in stuffed peppers. Creamy goat cheese binds the filling together, and complements the rich tomato sauce.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup medium-grain brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 4 large bell peppers
- 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the tomato paste so that all the onions and garlic are coated, and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes.
- Add the rice and water, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid, stir, and reduce the heat so that the rice is simmering. Cook until the water is completely absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, cut the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds and fleshy ribs. Nestle the peppers, standing upright, into a square baking dish. Try to choose a pan that the peppers just fit into - if it is too big, the peppers will fall over when you stuff and bake them. A 8" or 9" pan with sides that are 1-2" tall should be sufficient.
- Stir the chicken and goat cheese into the rice until all the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Whisk the remaining tomato paste, tomato sauce and milk together. Stir half of the sauce into the rice and chicken.
- Stuff the peppers with the rice and chicken filling, and ladle some tomato sauce over each pepper. Pour the remaining sauce into the bottom of the pan.
- Loosely cover the peppers with aluminum foil, and bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil, and bake for another 30 minutes.