I feel like every time I start a new post it begins with something like “so…. I haven’t posted in a while…”. This time it’s been over 7 months… so… I haven’t posted in a while. As usual, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking, but more so that I’m lazy and a) don’t measure anything which makes writing a recipe fairly difficult, b) don’t make things that look nice enough to take a picture, and c) forget to take pictures. This time (a) and (b) are still true and while I did take a picture, it’s a fairly crappy iPhone picture so (c) is pretty much true too (forgot to bring the DSLR). I figured I was due for a post though, so here it is.
The husband and I recently decided to go to Haiti this year with a team from our church. One thing the team decided to do to help fundraise this year was to make a steak dinner for people at church. It was quite the event – over the course of one night we fed ~80 people a three-course meal from salad and bread, to steak (or chicken) and mashed potatoes, to five different dessert options.
I love steak. If you’ve never had steak prepared in a sous vide cooker you really should give it a try. Sadly I, and several others, did not partake in the steak deliciousness due to various forms of fasting for lent. So I was in charge of making an alternative option. After perusing the internet for “vegan main dishes” I settled on stuffed peppers – mostly because they had the highest presentation potential.
Most recipes for stuffed peppers include rice and cheese but some folks were doing more restrictive fasts, so rice and cheese were out. I’d never made stuffed peppers before and was a little nervous that they’d be disastrous, so I decided to do a test run the day before. It turned out ok, but I’m glad I did the test run because I was able to make some adjustments before the actual dinner.
Some things I learned:
- Pick peppers with the flattest bottoms you can find.Otherwise they might tip over.
- If the peppers are not able to stand up by themselves, they can be baked in muffin tins. For presentation purposes this isn’t ideal because the muffin tin will leave a ring around the outside of the pepper.
- Most recipes will say to bake for 45min-1 hour. If all the ingredients inside the pepper are fully cooked it really only takes ~25-30 min to soften the pepper.
- When using naturally sweet vegetables like red peppers, sweet potatoes, and corn, extra seasoning is needed to offset the sweetness.
I’m not going to post a complete recipe because as I mentioned earlier I didn’t measure anything. Plus, people have different taste preferences, so the ingredients can be combined in whatever ration one prefers. For the dinner we served the peppers with a side of guacamole, which makes everything better. Here’s how I made my peppers.
- Red bell peppers (2)
- Sweet potatoes, diced (1 medium cut into ~1 cm cubes)
- Frozen sweet corn (1-2 cups)
- Canned black beans, drained and rinsed (1 can)
- Tofu, diced finely (1/4 block)
- Yellow onion, diced finely (~1/4 onion)
- Tomatoes (1-2, not entirely sure what type they were)
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
Wash and dry the peppers. Cut the top off (but save it) and clean out the seeds from the inside of the pepper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks. Cook over medium heat in a pot. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and allow to simmer until thickened (20-25 min).
While the tomatoes are simmering, heat olive oil in a frying pan or wok and cook the onions until tender (3-5 min). Add the sweet potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes soften (8-12 min). Add the tofu,. corn, and black beans and continue to cook for another 3-5 min. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and cumin (I have no measurements for any of those – my method is to add sparingly and taste as I go).
When the tomatoes have reached the desired consistency (make sure they’re not really watery), add them to the pan and mix thoroughly.
Scoop filling into the peppers and place the top of the pepper on top. I cooked five peppers in a dutch over and three in a muffin tin. For the ones in the muffin tin, I wrapped them in aluminum foil. Bake (wrapped in foil or covered in the case of the dutch oven) for 30 min. Uncover/unwrap, take the tops off, and broil (tops as well) for 3-5 min.