Well, it's been a little quiet around here. But, Summer is back in town, so hopefully we'll be making some treats this week. I've got a few plans for the end of season heirloom tomatoes I've been seeing around town. But, that's for a whole different post! Tonight, I made dinner.
My mom has a few raised beds in her backyard, and this year she had a pretty decent haul of anaheim peppers. They're mild and slightly sweet- they are the "green chiles" you get when you buy one of those tiny cans of diced green chile peppers. This weekend I brought some home and started mulling over what I'd do with them. My first thought was of course, chile rellenos! But hey, let's not be too predictable. I started poking around on recipe websites and I came across one for ground lamb stuffed peppers. Simple enough for me, and we almost never eat lamb, so it was something different from our usual chicken and veggies fare.
This was a food experiment, and like most of my food experiments, it was somewhere between a hit and a miss. Sure, it tasted good- really good, actually. But the whole time I was eating it, I couldn't help thinking about all the things I could do to improve upon it for the next time. This is the first time I've ever cooked lamb (except for grilling lamb skewers at a restaurant where I used to work) but it was ground, so I wasn't that worried about getting it perfect. The flavors were really good but my husband and I agreed that it was missing... something. I don't know, I didn't want to go overboard so I didn't go crazy with seasoning, but it definitely could have used a little heat, especially considering how mild the peppers were. Our verdict was that it was very tasty, but if we were going to make it again, we'd use red bell peppers instead of a smaller chile, and we'd add a little heat to the stuffing, maybe in the form of red chili flakes or some kind of sauce.
Here's how I made it:
A couple of peppers you'd like to stuff. Try bell peppers!
1/2 a pound of ground lamb
1/2 a red onion
a few cloves of garlic
Myzritha cheese (a greek sheep's milk cheese)
Maybe some red chili flakes? A little bit of oregano?
Then you should:
For anaheims, slice the peppers down one side and pull out the ribs and seeds. For a bell pepper, just cut off the top and pop out the ribs & seeds. place on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle lightly with oil. Roast at 400ºf until skin begins to char and blister. Remove from oven and set aside. When cooled, remove skins.
Saute lamb with diced onion & garlic, season with salt and pepper and a teeny pinch of oregano. Add chili flakes if you want. Cook until meat is just done, then set aside. When cooled, stir in grated myzritha and fresh tarragon.
Get your sides ready- I served these over a bed of rice pilaf, but my husband said he would have preferred some cous cous (I don't really like cous cous. We bicker over it a lot.) or lentils, but that's just because we eat a lot of rice and I think he was in the mood for something different. I started my rice before I started anything else so it'd be done when I started putting it all together.
I made little parchment paper boats (mostly for cuteness) and filled the bottoms with pilaf. Then I just filled the peppers with the meat mixture. I tossed it all under the broiler for a minute to make sure it was all hot and to get a little bit of crunch on top, and that was it. If I were going to use bell peppers, I might layer rice on the bottom and meat on top, I don't know. So much more room to work!
Hey, do you want my pilaf recipe while I'm thinking about it?
2 cups of white rice
a small handful of broken-up spaghetti sticks
1 white onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, diced
3 cups of (homemade!) stock
and for tonight's, I also added a handful of frozen peas and some crushed walnuts.
Saute onions & garlic 'til glassy, throw in rice & spaghetti. Toast until noodles begin to lightly brown, then add stock. Bring to a boil, stir and cover.
So anyway, if you are feeling adventurous, improve upon my recipe please, and feel free to share your results.