Stuffed Red Peppers

My great aunt is always going on about how life is too short to stuff mushrooms, or anything for that matter, but I have to say, I disagree. The urge to stuff vegetables is very rare but when it takes hold, a scrummy meal is always in store. The usual favourites are peppers, aubergines and butternuts but I've come across recipes for carrots, marrows, tomatoes and just about anything. The task of stuffing a vegetable seems arduous but something incredible and magical occurs when it eventually comes out the oven, that the process is surely worth it. I wanted to have a simple, filling supper and sometimes it's nice to have a neat little parcel than something like a stir fry. The thought of red peppers roasted in a hot oven, stuffed to the gills with rice, feta and a bit of veg set my mouth watering. You can use just about anything to fill the ruby cavities of these natural vessels, so use this recipe as a base and experiment.

Recipe (serves 2)

2 or 3 large red peppers
half a cup of brown rice
1 shallot, chopped
few leaves chard, roughly chopped
1 carrot, grated
handful of chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
quarter of a cup of feta, crumbled (use more if desired)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C. Cook rice in double the amount of water until soft and the water is absorbed. In a pan saute the shallot in a little olive oil until translucent. Add carrot and garlic and saute until caramelised. Add mushroom and allow to brown. Finally add the chard and just cook through. Add the cooked rice and mix thoroughly, then add the feta and mix again until just combined. You don't want it to melt completely. Season to taste. To prepare the peppers cut a circle into the flesh about an inch away from the stem to form a lid. Clean out the seeds from the inside. Stuff the cavity tightly with the rice mix and place the lid on to seal it.  You will probably have some of the rice mix left over which is just as good eaten on its own. Place peppers on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. If the lid keeps falling off when the pepper is lying down, prop it up with a bit of foil. Roast off for about 45 minutes or until there is good colour on the skin and the pepper is cooked through. When cut into the stuffing should be juicy and divine. Serve as is or with a green salad.

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