I could eat soup everyday.
It has always been easy for me to come up with ideas for soups, stews, chili and the like. Sometimes I can get carried away, for I am happy eating meals from bowls every night of the week…especially during the colder months. However, my hubbie is not really a soup person.
So, instead of making soup, I borrowed ingredients from several of my favorite hearty, winter soups and stuffed them into a bright bell pepper shell. Roasted to a golden brown and topped with zingy cheese, this flavorful dinner comes with a bonus: it is served in its own edible and quite healthy bowl!
- ½ cup farro or brown rice or orzo
- 3 large bell peppers (any color works nicely)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 anchovy filets, chopped
- 8 ounces brown mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 small zucchini (or half of a large one), chopped
- 1 small bunch cavalo nero or lacinto kale, tough stems removed, leaves chopped
- 1 pound ground beef, lamb or pork
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can puréed tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped black Kalamata or other Greek-style olives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- Grated zest and juice from one lemon
- 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
- Heat oven to 375°. Cook farro (or rice or orzo) according to package instructions. Drain, if necessary, transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Halve the peppers lengthwise through the stem and carefully trim out the seeds and any ribs, leaving the stem intact. Arrange the peppers, cut side up, in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Season pepper halves with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and anchovy and cook, stirring, for one minute. Transfer onion mixture to the bowl with the farro. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the skillet along with mushrooms and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to brown. Stir in kale and continue to cook for one minute to allow the kale to wilt slightly. Transfer to the farro mixture. Add beef (or lamb or pork) and cook, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, until browned. Stir beef into bowl along with tomatoes, olives, oregano, lemon zest and juice, and ¾ cup of the cheese. Season mixture with salt and pepper and stir until just combined. Stuff mixture into peppers, piling it up fairly high, drizzle with olive oil and top with remaining cheese. Add ¼ cup water to the baking dish and bake until the peppers are tender, the mixture has heated through and the cheese has browned, 40 to 45 minutes.