I have been looking to come up with an awesome stuffed pepper recipe for years now and short of using a ton of cheese, it hasn't occurred to me what to stuff it with. I'm not a fan of dry stuffed peppers and I didn't want it to be mediocre. After a long time, I've come up with something really great!
Stuffed Peppers with Creamy Polenta and Adobo-laced Pepitas. Yeah.
Ingredients? 12 total, plus salt, sugar, black pepper and water.
The polenta in these peppers is creamy and luscious. I used coarse cornmeal, so my polenta took about 45 minutes to cook until tender, but it was so worth it! It goes to show, when your cornmeal is coarse, don't be afraid to cook it longer than you would cook a finer version of cornmeal.
I cooked the onions until caramelized, cooked the polenta and added raw zucchini at the end. After cutting the tops off the peppers, leaving just enough room to add the polenta, I baked them in a very simple tomato sauce.
Speaking of the tomato sauce, once baked, it is crazy good! If you love sauce as much as I do, go forth and double its recipe.
Then there are the pepitas! Did you know that pepitas are super high in protein and they are so tasty. Pepitas can be roasted in hundreds of different ways and here I add an adobo seasoning to them.
Adobo seasoning is a Latin American mixture of spices, sometimes including cumin, coriander, garlic, oregano, turmeric and/or bay leaves (just watch out for meat ingredients). There are organic versions or traditional ones available at any grocery store and you will find yourself using it often. If you have a few spices, HERE is a recipe (sub the fresh garlic with 1 teaspoon garlic granules).
That's it! Enjoy!
Stuffed Pepper with Creamy Polenta
Prep time:30 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cornmeal or polenta
1/4 to 1/2 cup non-dairy plain, unsweetened milk
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
4 small peppers (bell, poblano or 6 medium Anaheim)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup tomato paste (not concentrate)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sweetener
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1. Polenta: Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook until caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of broth if the onions are sticking. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, add the water and bring to boil. Add the cornmeal slowly, using a whisk to stir while you add the cornmeal. Bring back to boil and reduce to medium-low. Cover partially and cook until tender, about 20 to 45 minutes, depending on grind, stirring occasionally. When tender, add the milk, season with salt and black pepper, add the lemon juice and zucchini. Add more milk if needed.
2. Cut off the sides of the peppers just large enough to add the polenta. Fill the peppers.
3. Sauce: While the polenta cooks, heat the oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and oregano. Cook until golden, about 1 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste darkens a bit, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, sweetener and salt. Whisk well to combine, bring to boil and transfer the sauce to a 9X9 baking dish. Add the stuffed peppers on top of the sauce. Heat the oven to 400-degrees F (no need to preheat), and bake the peppers until they are tender, about 45 minutes.
4. Pepitas. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pepitas and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the adobo and salt, to taste. Cook for another 30 seconds. Serve the pepitas garnishing the baked peppers.
© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.