I love it when my produce and my pantry conspire present me with an obvious dish. This week's CSA share brought us bell peppers, onions, and corn (amongst other things), and as I was putting it all away the last of a block of feta cheese pretty much leapt out of the refrigerator (along with a jar of peanut butter, but that's another story) and fell at my feet begging to be used.I don't particularly like raw bell peppers, though I adore them roasted, baked and fried, so I promised the feta I'd feature it with the peppers in a hot dish. Then I crammed all of the produce into the fridge and slammed the door and went off to the All Points West festival to see Radiohead.
As an aside, I have to say that I'm getting too damned old for outdoor all day music festivals. It was hot and a long walk from the train into Liberty State Park and it was a long wait for Radiohead, but worth it, as always. My two daughters were with us-- they grew up with Radiohead as background music-- and very sweetly told their friends they would be hanging out with us for that part of the festival, even though I repeatedly told them I didn't mind if they chose not to. How nice is that?! At their age I'd have rather died than go to a rock concert with my parents.
It was a great show, but a long day and we didn't get home until about 1:00 AM, and I felt ruined on Sunday morning-- sore feet, aching back, and generally washed out. It was the sort of day that begged for frequent naps and dinner delivered, but I couldn't ignore all that CSA produce and I'd made a promise to the feta.So I shuffled into the kitchen and took stock and then I curled up with a favorite cookbook, The New American Plate. I think I might have dozed off a little, but between naps I found a recipe for stuffed peppers which not only called for feta, but also for fresh corn. And onions! Three CSA items! It also required kidney beans and rice, which were in the cupboard. Perfect! I love it when everything comes together like that.
I adapted the amounts of the ingredients to make considerably more stuffing, as I knew I'd happily toss it into salads and eat it for lunch all week. Don't do what I did and forget to put the tops of the peppers back on before baking-- your kidney beans will go dark and burned-looking (they tasted fine, just looked ugly).
Peppers Stuffed with Rice, Beans and Feta
4 medium bell peppers
1 cup rice, cooked (I used a wild and brown rice mix)
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the rice and then let it cool.
Prepare the stuffing by mixing the rice with all of the ingredients (except the peppers, of course!). You can do this ahead of time and stick it in your refrigerator until you want to bake the peppers.
To assemble, preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Reserve the tops. Spoon the filling into the peppers, packing it lightly, and then replace the pepper tops. Place the stuffed peppers in a baking dish and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Pour about an inch of water around the bottom of the peppers. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes.