Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Last night I made these delicious Mediterranean style stuffed peppers with herb & sun-dried tomato chicken sausage and cauliflower rice....yep! Totally gluten free and grain free, and I promise you would never know the difference.



I decided to use chicken sausage because that is what they had available and fresh yesterday, although you could use any kind of lean meat (turkey, chicken, or even LAMB which would make this even more Mediterranean!). I decided to use actual sausage instead of pre-ground meat and it turned out amazing. You get thicker pieces of sausage in each bite, and as my husband said last night, it tastes more "sausage-y" this way (as opposed to using ground meat)....if that makes sense.

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The cauliflower rice component is what I personally think makes these little guys fantastic. Usually stuffed peppers are loaded with a specific grain such as rice, pasta or even tabouli, which are all high glycemic index. The cauliflower rice is a fantastic grain free, low GI alternative that's gluten free. The "rice" helps to fill out the stuffing in each pepper and when combined with the sausage, these pepps are packed with flavor!

My hubs said this is his new favorite recipe and I hope you all enjoy it too!

MEDITERRANEAN STUFFED PEPPERS
6 medium size peppers, caps removed and seeds and ribs scooped out
1 pound of lean sausage meat ( I used sun-dried tomato & herb chicken sausage, about 4 to 5 links)
1 medium head of cauliflower, bottom trimmed off and roughly cut into 4 or 5 segments
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of chopped white or sweet onion
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes (I used ones packed in olive oil)
2.25 ounce jar of black or green sliced olives
2 teaspoons of capers
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon of chopped oregano
Feta cheese for topping the peppers
Homemade or store bought tomatoes sauce of choice (optional)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Take your de-capped peppers (with the seeds and ribs removed) and steam them for 10 minutes. When finished, place aside in a casserole or baking dish.

To make the cauliflower rice, use a food processor and pulse a few segments at a time so it's in the consistency of a rice. (I usually break it up into two parts with a medium size cauliflower. So I first pulse 2 or 3 segments, pour into a large bowl, and pulse up the rest). BE SURE to not over pulse. You do not want the cauliflower to get mushy. You want it to have a nice texture. Here is what is should look like:

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Coat a large and deep skillet with olive oil and set on medium to high heat. Add the minced garlic and let it become fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes or so). Add the cauliflower rice a little at a time, mixing well. Add another tablespoon or 2 of olive oil or even butter (up to you) and mix till combined. Turn up the heat to high and let the cauliflower cook up nicely. (You want it to start to brown and crisp up so it has some more texture. Make sure you don't add too much liquid, otherwise it will become mushy). After about 10 minutes or so, add the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Let the "rice" cook up another 15 minutes or so. While it's cooking it should be sticking to the bottom of the pan in places and you will have to scrape it with a spoon. This is a GOOD thing. You will notice it start to brown and spots which will give it a nice flavor and texture (just make sure it doesn't burn....obviously).

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After the rice is finished, put aside in a bowl and let it cool. To expedite the cooling process, I chilled it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Once cooled, preset your oven to 375 degrees. Pour rice into a larger bowl and add the sausage links by removing the casting on each link and massaging the meat into the rice mixture. Add the basil, rosemary and oregano to the mixture. Once combined, over-stuff each pepper and drizzle olive oil over the stuffed tops (about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon over each pepper).

Click to enlarge.

Bake peppers at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the peppers are crispy at the edges and the meat is cooked through (and browned on top). Top with crumbled feta cheese and/or your favorite tomato sauce.  Hope you all enjoy!

1 comment:

The Wordy Girl said...

Shut up. I'm so making these.