I think of stuffed peppers as a quintessential vegetarian dish, although I am sure many omnivores have a favourite version of them too. They are such an easy and effective meal, with so many possible variations.
I have posted a stuffed pepper recipe previously, so today's post is less about the stuffing and more about the peppers themselves. I saw these baby peppers at my local markets last weekend, and promptly fell in love. In fact, I loved them so much that the image below has become my Facebook cover photo!
What the Facebook version doesn't show is just how small these really are. The following picture includes my thumb for scale and highlights that these really are baby-sized vegetables.
Obviously peppers of this size are not going to provide a stand-alone meal (unless you eat a lot of them!) but they make a great accompaniment to other dishes. I imagine they would be great as an appetizer too, or as finger food at a party. I tend to eat just about everything with a knife and fork (pizza, wraps...) but these really are best consumed with your hands. Pick them up, bite in, and enjoy the contrast of sweet roasted pepper against the fragrant rice filling within.
If you don't have baby peppers near you, obviously this recipe could be made with standard-sized peppers. It's slightly different to the stuffed peppers recipe I've posted previously, featuring hemp seeds instead of pine nuts and garam masala instead of basil. If you like, you could even skip the peppers altogether and just serve the rice straight up. It's pretty delicious.
Baby stuffed peppers with fragrant rice
Makes a savoury snack, appetizer or side dish for 4
Author: Bite-sized thoughts
8 baby peppers (capsicums), or alternatively, 2 regular peppers
1/2 cup rice of choice (or quinoa), uncooked
1 cup vegetable broth
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1/2 onion (red or white), finely diced
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 to 1-1/2 tbsp hemp seeds (to taste)
1 to 1-1/2 tbsp currants (to taste)
Preheat oven to 180'C.
Depending on size and shape, cut the tops off your peppers or slice them in half length ways. Scoop out any seeds.
Place the cut peppers in the oven to roast for approximately 10 minutes. They should have softened after this time but won't have blackened. Allow to cool slightly at room temperature while the rice finishes cooking.
While the peppers are in the oven, place the rice and stock in a covered saucepan, bring to the boil, and then simmer covered for approximately 5 minutes. Add the diced vegetables (celery, carrot and onion) and garam masala and continue to simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.
Stir the hemp seeds and currants through the cooked rice mixture.
Spoon the rice mixture into your prepared peppers (using a teaspoon will help if you're using baby peppers). Place the stuffed peppers into a baking dish and add any leftover rice around the peppers if necessary.
Roast the stuffed peppers in the oven for 20 minutes and then serve.
These hold up well cold, too, and are just as enjoyable the day after being cooked.
Do you buy or use baby peppers regularly? Or do you have a favourite stuffed pepper recipe of any variety?