Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sausage-and-millet-stuffed bell peppers

One day this past spring I came home from work to a house filled with the smell of frying Italian sausage and onions; it turned out that my SO was trying a new recipe for stuffed bell peppers (Greene 1988). They were delicious. We just made them again this week, modifying the recipe a bit, so they're this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post, and the first post of cooking week. Recently we've been alternating between these stuffed peppers and our stuffed bell peppers in tomato sauce.

1/2 cup hulled millet
1 1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
~6 bell peppers (preferably red)
1 1/4 pounds Italian sausage (hot or mild), removed from the skins
2 medium onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed with a garlic press
1 tablespoon curry powder (or 2 teaspoons garam masala with 1 teaspoon turmeric, if you don't have curry powder)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

0a. Preheat the oven to 375F.
0b. At some point during the cooking, you will need to prepare the bell peppers. Cut the top off the peppers, remove the seeds and ribs from inside the fruit, and then steam the peppers until they begin to get soft (~5 minutes). This step should be finished by the time the peppers will be stuffed (step 6).
1. Fry the millet seeds, stirring constantly, in a dry pan over medium-high heat until they turn light golden brown (they will pop lightly as they toast).
2. Transfer the millet to a small pot, add the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and simmer, covered, until the millet is cooked and all the water is absorbed (~20 minutes). If the millet has absorbed all the water but is not soft, add more water and continue cooking. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes after cooking.
3. In a large pan, fry the sausage over medium-high heat (breaking up the sausage into moderate-sized chunks) until it begins to brown, approximately five minutes.
4. Add the onions, garlic, curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and continue frying for 10 minutes.
5. Combine the sausage mixture, cooked millet, black pepper, and egg in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly.
6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared peppers and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
7. Stand the stuffed peppers upright in a shallow baking dish and bake for 50 minutes.
8. Remove the peppers from the oven and let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

If you end up with more filling than you can fit into the peppers, put the extra filling into a small baking dish, sprinkle a bit of cheese on top, and bake it along with the peppers.

We modified this recipe from the original by increasing the amount of millet, onion, and garlic, removing some chicken stock, and changing the method used to pre-cook the bell peppers.

Greene, Bert. 1988. The Grains Cookbook. Workman Publishing, NY. pp. 172-173.

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