To celebrate the 4th of July I decided to forego the BBQ this year and try something new. For some reason stuffed peppers popped into my head. I headed out to Pontious Farm early in the day to see what I could find. Slim pickens right now, but I did find some beautiful red currants (the last of the season) and just about every herb I could possibly need. I managed to find a few Jostaberries as well. I’ve never had them, but they’re a cross between currants and gooseberries….and super tart! I tried getting some of the early blueberries as well, but was attacked by flies and mosquitos, so I had to scrap that.
I’ve made stuffed peppers before, but decided I would try to incorporate the currants in there. The result was super tasty! If you can’t find fresh currants where you live, you can just add more raisins (which is how I would normally make this recipe,) but the currants really do balance out all the flavors with a bit of tartness.
4 Large yellow bell peppers
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
3 tbsp safflower oil
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
3/4 cup eggplant, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fennel, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh red currants
1/4 cup or less golden raisins
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
Black pepper to taste
1 1/2-2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
More safflower oil to coat peppers and to grease the pan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly coat the bell peppers with a bit of safflower oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the skins have browned. Be sure to rotate the peppers a few times during the baking to evenly brown the sides.
Meanwhile, chop all of your ingredients for the stuffing. Heat a large skillet with 3 tbsp of safflower oil over medium to medium-high. Cook the onions and garlic until the onions start to become translucent. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and fennel. Stir to combine. Add the pine nuts, currants, raisins, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the peppers from the oven and carefully place them in a large bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, carefully peel away the skins. Cut one side of each pepper from the base of the stem down to the bottom and carefully scoop out all of the seeds, draining any excess water inside the pepper. Place the pepper on a dish and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Place the panko into a medium bowl. Lightly grease a small baking dish, large enough to fit all four peppers in.
Carefully stuff each pepper with the vegetable mixture, then coat them with the panko. Place into the baking dish and bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until the panko turns golden brown.
To serve, scoop about 1/2 cup or more of the marinara onto a plate and place a pepper on top.