Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage Stuffed Peppers

My crop-share has been doling out green bell peppers in massive quantities.  While I love the sweet-earthy flavor of red, orange and yellow bell peppers, I find green peppers to be slightly bitter when raw and prefer them cooked.  After making several rounds of fajitas I decided to stuff the remaining bounty with a flavorful sun-dried tomato chicken sausage mixture.  I added some leftover cooked rice to the mix and it made for a deliciously healthy and satisfying meal.  Choose peppers that sit evenly if you plan to stuff them, and if your peppers are lopsided and/or wobbly, slice a very thin piece off the bottom to give them a flat base.

Some stuffed pepper recipes call for steaming or blanching the peppers before stuffing and baking.  I prefer a firm, slightly crisp pepper shell in this dish so I skip the pre-cooking.

Stuffed Peppers with Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Sausage

4 green bell peppers

1 lb. sun-dried tomato chicken sausage, removed from casing

½ C. onion, chopped

15oz can tomato sauce (I used no salt added)

½ C. green bell pepper, chopped (used leftover pepper from sliced-off tops)

2 Tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped + additional for garnish

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Fresh-ground black pepper to taste

1 C. cooked rice (any kind will work; I used brown rice)

1 egg, beaten

4 oz crumbled goat cheese (optional)

1.            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice tops off peppers (about ½” from top), carefully remove core and seeds and rise with cold water to remove any remaining seeds.  Set peppers aside and make the filling by browning the chicken sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook until soft and slightly brown.  Add chopped green pepper, tomato sauce, salt, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper.  Cook until peppers are slightly soft and adjust seasoning if necessary.

2.            Remove chicken mixture from heat and place in a bowl to cool for several minutes.  Add rice and beaten egg and mix well.  Place hallowed peppers upright in a pie dish and, using a tablespoon, carefully fill peppers with chicken sausage mixture.

Bake peppers, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until peppers are bright green and slightly soft.  Top with goat cheese, if using, and return to oven for a few minutes to melt cheese.  Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Serves 4 (serving = 1 pepper)