Thursday, July 7, 2011

Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers over Seasoned Greens

Currently eating this as lunch leftover from last night's dinner, and it's just as delicious the next day.  Black-eyed peas and shredded turkey or chicken, simmered in liquid smoke, come together beautifully in colorful roasted bell peppers.  Served over seasoned greens, topped with shredded cheese, and accompanied by cornbread, this dish couldn't get any more Southern. 

It's healthy and filling comfort food, fit for a family dinner, but a casserole dish full of stuffed peppers also makes a nice presentation on a buffet.  Put the tabasco sauce on the table for anyone who wants to spice it up a notch.  
Southern Spoon blog: Stuffed bell peppers over seasoned greens
Southern stuffed bell peppers over seasoned greens... black-eyed pea goodness
Southern Stuffed Bell Peppers over Seasoned Greens

4 hearty servings

4 bell peppers, various colors
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons cumin, divided
2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
3 chicken or turkey breasts (or about 1 1/2 cups shredded, deli-roasted chicken)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-3 teaspoons natural liquid smoke (mesquite flavor works well)
4 cups spinach, rinsed
1 cup freshly shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Turn on your oven broiler to medium-high.  Wash the bell peppers and split each in half, cutting from the bottom to the top of the stem, removing the stem and seeds.  Mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon chili powder into a small bowl.  Brush the mixture lightly all over the bell peppers, and place peppers, skin side up, on a baking tray.  Reserve the remaining oil and vinegar mixture.  Place bell peppers in the oven, about 4 inches from heat.  Broil for about 3 minutes, then turn them over so that the fleshy inside is facing the heat.  Broil about 3 more minutes, then turn back over so that the skin is facing the heat.  Broil another  3 minutes, just until the skin begins to blister and peppers are softened.  Remove peppers from oven, and turn oven to 400F / 200C. Sprinkle insides with one teaspoon cumin.

Meanwhile, fill a pot with water and bring to a low boil.  Add the turkey or chicken and simmer for about 15 minutes, until a breast sliced open is no longer pink.  Remove from heat, drain the water off, and shred the chicken or turkey with two forks.  Set aside. 

In the same pot, spray a little oil or cooking spray and return to medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onion.  Saute about 6 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.  Remove one heaping tablespoon of the onion garlic mixture and put into reserved oil and vinegar mixture, set aside.  

Add the black-eyed peas and one cup of water to the pot with the remaining onion and garlic.  Add 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon chili powder, and the parsley and oregano to peas.  Simmer for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the shredded turkey or chicken, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water has mostly been absorbed or evaporated.  Remove from heat.  

Spoon the black-eyed pea mixture into each bell pepper half, topping with shredded cheese.  Leave any remaining mixture in the pot that won't fit into the bell pepper halves.  Return the pot to medium heat and add the spinach, stirring occasionally for about 2-3 minutes, until spinach is wilted.  

Pour one tablespoon of the reserved oil and vinegar mixture into the spinach, stirring to distribute.  Pour the remaining oil and vinegar mixture into the bottom of a large ceramic or glass casserole dish.  Spread the spinach mixture over the bottom of the casserole.  Arrange bell peppers on top of spinach.

Bake casserole dish at 400F / 200C for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and peppers are heated through.  Serve immediately with cornbread.

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