Last week was all about peppers. I had red and green peppers, hot peppers, lipstick peppers…you get the picture. After an hour or so roasting them, drying them, and chopping them to put in the freezer for fall and winter eating, I still had too many peppers. As I always do, I checked what other ingredients I had on hand and brainstormed what I could make. This is the result. Peppers stuffed with a mixture of lentils, rice, and newly purchased dried apricots, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and served with homemade pita chips.
For the stuffed peppers-
6 peppers, your choice. I used smaller red ones and the larger size green lipstick variety
1 cup cooked rice (I always use brown)
1 cup lentils ( I used brown because I had some sitting the freezer but I think red ones would work well too)
1 onion, chopped and divided
1/4 cup chopped apricots
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch of salt, pepper and cinnamon
oil for cooking
Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
(remaining half of the onion)
Good sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder and depending on how spicy you like your food, red pepper flakes
oil for cooking
For the Pita Chips
4 whole wheat tortillas, cut into triangles
salt and pepper
some cumin or if you can find it, smoked cumin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and cut the tops off the peppers and remove the membranes and seeds. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Cook for about ten minutes or until lightly softened and slightly charred. Set aside while you make the filling.
Over medium high heat, heat about two tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant. Add half of the onion and sauté until softened and golden brown. Add the lentils, rice and apricots and then the salt and pepper and cinnamon. Continue cooking for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Cool slightly.
Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.
Stuff each pepper with the stuffing mixture. (For the long thin peppers I find the end of a wooden spoon is great for pushing the mixture to the very tip).
Place peppers in the casserole dish and set aside.
Over medium high heat, warm another two tablespoons of oil in a skillet and add the onions and cook until softened. Add the tomato sauce and stir in the garlic, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Heat through and then pour onto the peppers in the casserole dish.
Cover the dish with foil and cook for about 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the sauce is bubbling.
For the pita chips-
Place the tortilla triangles on a couple of baking sheets and coat each one with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and cumin and bake at 375 degrees for about ten minutes or until they are hardened. Serve immediately with the stuffed peppers.