As I often do, I created a recipe with ingredients I had on hand. In this case it became a baked stuffed pepper recipe using lentils instead of rice. The nutritional difference between rice and lentils is negligible. I simply like the taste of lentils and figured it was a good alternative. The prosciutto and feta cheese adds all the salt this dish requires.
Ingredients for 2 to 3 servings:
- 3 bell peppers – note: I prefer to mix bell pepper colors: red, yellow, green, and orange
- ½ cup lentils
- 1 ½ – 2 cups water
- 1/3rd of a sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 celery stalks with leaves from the center of the bunch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 slices prosciutto
- 1/3rd cup crumbled feta cheese
- 6 leaves fresh basil
- 3 sundried tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- Bring 1 & ½ cups (12 ounces) water to a boil. Add the lentils and reduce heat. Cover when the lentils are gently simmering. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes checking half way through to add additional boiling water if necessary. The lentils should be tender and all water evaporated.
- While lentils are simmering, slice the tops of the peppers off and set aside. Place the peppers into an oven proof baking dish that will provide a snug fit for the peppers.
- Dice the onion, celery and garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and gently cook the onion, celery and garlic until soft but not browned. Turn the heat off.
- Dice the prosciutto, basil leaves and sundried tomatoes.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- In a small sauce pan heat the chicken or vegetable stock just to the boiling point.
- When the lentils are tender combine with the onion, celery and garlic. Add the prosciutto, basil leaves, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes. Gently combine – do not mash the lentils.
- Spoon into the peppers and replace the tops. Pour the stock into the baking dish around, not over, the peppers.
- Place the dish into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes until the peppers are soft.
A crisp dry white wine goes well with this dish. Try an Assyrtiko from the Greek island of Santorini.
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