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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Bell pepper essential

The final piece to the Holy Trinity is the bell pepper. They are abundant in the south. Since bell peppers originated in the Americas, they took the place of the sweet carrots in the traditional French mirepoix. The question is, what color do I use?

One may think that the different colors represent different varieties of bell peppers. While there are some rare varieties, such as white, brown and purple, the colors you find in the grocery stores are the same type. Bell peppers start off as green, which features a more bitter flavor profile. The colors change from green to yellow, then orange, then red the longer the are allowed to mature on the plant. Yellow and orange bell peppers are sweeter , with the sweetest being the red bell pepper.

You may have heard that male peppers have three bumps and females have four. This is just a myth. There are based on the conditions they are grown in. Today, I am only sharing one recipe: Jambalaya Stuffed Bell Peppers. So grab some bell peppers from the Farmer’s Market and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Jambalaya Stuffed Bell Peppers

What could be more New Orleans than stuffing a bell pepper with Jambalaya? Next time you are making jambalaya, make extra. Find some nice bell peppers and enjoy.

8 medium assorted bell peppers (about 3 pounds)

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 pound tasso, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup chopped red onion

3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

2 1/3 cups chicken stock

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Creole seasoning to taste

1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Cut 1/2 inch off top of stem end of each bell pepper. (Reserve tops; discard seeds and membranes.) Place peppers in a 3 1/2 quart oval baking dish.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on outside, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken using slotted spoon, and place in a bowl.

Add tasso and andouille to Dutch oven; cook. stirring occasionally, until meat has lightly browned and released drippings, 5 to 8 minutes. (Reduce heat as necessary to prevent over-browning.) Remove tasso mixture using slotted spoon, and transfer to bowl with chicken, reserving drippings in Dutch oven.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, chopped bell pepper, celery, and garlic to pot; cook stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. dd rice; cook , stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in stock, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Return chicken mixture to pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes, scraping browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven well towards end of cooking time.

Discard bay leaf; add thyme. Season rice with Creole seasoning. Spoon rice mixture into peppers, mounding high (about 1 cup each). Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; cover with reserved tops. Pour 1/2 cup in bottom of baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until peppers are tender and stuffing is heated through, 20 to 25 minutes more. Serve immediately.

While the brings us to the end of the Holy Trinity, there is an ingredient that is often used with this base. When garlic is added, it is referred to as “the pope”. Next time, we will explore the stinking rose.

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