Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Peppers stuffed with tomatoes and chilies

This recipe is an adaptation from Jamie Oliver's version. It was done from memory, so isn't exactly the same. It looked so good when he did it on his Jamie at Home program. It got the ultimate madame accolade, "We can serve this to people."

The Food Network didn't publish the actual recipe, but it is very straightforward and very adaptable. One comment that Jamie Oliver made was that "Mr. Pepper loves Mr. Garlic who also loves Mr. Tomato." I had some visions in the kitchen that I put out of mind as I was cooking.

I made the filling up (except for the basil) a couple of hours before stuffing the peppers and cooking the dish. The oven temp. will be 400F, the cooking time in total is about 50 minutes.

1 Red Pepper, halved lengthwise, deseeded and the stem left on
2 Yellow Peppers, halved lengthwise, deseeded and the stem left on
Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Clove garlic, peeled and sliced finely
18 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
½ green jalapeno
2 sweet chili peppers – not bell peppers but something like Italian sweet peppers
2 T Capers, soaked and drained
Handful olives, pitted – I used a mixture of green and black because that is what I had
A Bunch Fresh Basil, leaves picked
1 T Sherry vinegar
3T Extra Virgin Olive oil
6 Sliced Pancetta or Smoked Bacon
6 Slices bread, preferably rustic and grilled/toasted
3 Oz herbed goat cheese

Make the stuffing by combining the tomatoes, garlic, finely chopped chili peppers, capers, vinegar, olives and oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to stuff the peppers. Letting the flavors combine doesn't do any harm.
When you are ready to cook the dish, preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the ribs from the pepper halves and season the insides with a little salt and pepper. In a deep cooking tray, lay the peppers open side up. Tear up the basil and put in the bottom of the peppers, and then stuff the peppers tightly with the reserved stuffing mixture. Make sure you use all the liquid that has collected in the bowl. Artfully drape a piece of very thinly sliced pancetta over the top of each stuffed pepper. Cover tightly with alumin(i)um foil and bake covered for 20 or so minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 20 or 30 minutes. The pancetta will become very crispy. Note: The yellow peppers cooked a little faster than the red peppers. The red peppers could have done with a bit longer – next time I will bump up the covered cooking time to 25 minutes instead of 20. Probably leave the uncovered time about the same.
To serve, place each pepper on its own slice of grilled bread. I used home made sourdough for this. Dab the top of each hot pepper with a little goat cheese. You can also decorate with some greens (e.g. arugula), but I served them plain – with a glass or 3 of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.

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