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It's time once more for cooking with Mattie Mae - where you utilize ingredients you have available, but perhaps don't have the proportionate amount necessary to follow a recipe, or are missing items.
In our kitchen - that's ok, because it let's you be gastronomically creative in instances you might have other wise just played it safe.
On the menu tonight was stuffed peppers. Normally most recipes call for you to have certain types of sausage smoked or spiced sausage and at least four medium sized bell peppers as well as rice, etc etc.
We only had 1 1/2 bell peppers. One red, the half green. First things first with the red pepper cut the top off and remove the seeded center. Get all of the seeds out and make the interior wall as hollowed out as possible. Set the top you cut off aside for use later.
With the green pepper I actually had a little bit more than half so I simply pared away the excess (and set aside for later use).
Set your 'pepper bowls' aside.
Get about a fourth of an onion and coarsely chop it. Also coarsely chop the pepper remainders (though remove the stem!). Putt the veggies in a small chopper to get a finer smaller chop.
In a medium pan I warmed up about a table spoon of olive oil and added to it a teaspoon of minced roasted garlic. Add in about a quarter cup of sausage. In this case I used a mild savory sage pork sausage from Publix. It was tubed sausage so it was loose and not in a casing like other sausages.
I browned the sausage for about three minutes. Then I added the chopped veggies, and here's the first kicker - instead of adding rice I used yellow stone ground grits. Now I suppose one could say - shouldn't you have cooked the grits first, even in grit casseroles you cook the grits first. Yeah, I suppose but all the recipes for stuffed peppers I've looked at in preparation didn't mention cooking the rice first (although maybe it's implied?). Any who you put in about 1/2 cup of grits in with the veggies and sausage. Also add about a table spoon more of olive oil. And for good measure add about 4 or five grape tomatoes that have been halved.
Let that saute for about 4 minutes.
While that's sauteing make sure you have a baking pan or dish. Put the bell peppers in the dish and add water to the bottom of the pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Get your cheeses. This is the second kicker. I used two different cheese mixtures for each bell pepper, and I didn't use any bread crumbs. For my peppers I had a Romano Parmesan mixture, goat cheese, and a South Carolina original Pimento Cheese (with Jalapenos), called Palmetto Cheese, that I had purchased from Publix.
*As a side note, other than Mom's homemade, and the kind you get from DiPrato's here in Columbia - there is no other Pimento Cheese that I'll eat! Free plug for my Mom, DiPrato's and Palmetto Cheese!
Remove the sausage mixture from the heat. Spoon the mixture into the peppers till they're heaped on pretty good. You should use all of the mixture.
Depending on your preference the next step is easy, you top with the cheese mixture of choice until the pepper seems to be bursting. In this case on the red pepper I topped it with the Romano Parmesan blended cheese and Goat Cheese.
On the green pepper I put the pimento cheese.
Bake it in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes. The last 3 or 4 minutes the peppers should be broiled.
The taste delicious, the smell aromatic and slightly sweet. The grits will have the pleasant texture of couscous and the savory taste of the sage and smoky hint of garlic mixes well with the sweetness of the onions peppers and tomatoes. The cheese, well the cheese not only adds its own twists but helps bond the flavors together.
This will be one dish you'll want over and over again.