Monday, August 16, 2010

Primal Stuffed Peppers: Breakfast Edition

     I don't know what it is about them, but I have always found stuffed peppers to be incredibly appetizing. When I was younger, my Italian Grandma used to make stuffed peppers (the kind with rice and meat, covered in sauce) and they were one of my top favorite home-cooked meals. Now that I'm older, and no longer eat rice, I still relish the concept of using a pepper as a receptacle for tasty goodness--except these days, I've been finding more creative things to stuff them with.

     Recently I've been in a bit of a breakfast rut, growing bored with eating omelettes and scrambles every day. Don't get me wrong--I love my eggs in the morning..I just thought I would try something new to spice things up a bit. Lately, my fascination with stuffed peppers left me certain that stuffing a pepper full of eggs and meat was simply the right thing to do.

Primal Stuffed (Sorta Spicy) Breakfast Peppers
Makes 3 generous servings - 2 Pepper Halves Each

6 Bell Peppers, sliced in half, lengthwise, and hollowed out. I did red, orange, and yellow, for a pretty rainbow of colors. Er. I mean. Because they have more vitamins and stuff.
5 Omega-3 eggs
2 Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages (I got mine at Trader Joe's, but you can get other brands of natural/organic chicken sausages at large grocery stores and Whole Foods. These ones came 4 in a pack, and were sort of big--if using a sausage that that comes in a pack of 5, use three sausages.)
2 T Diced White Onion
1/4 c. Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade (also from Trader Joe's. If you don't have a TJ's nearby, you could substitute diced red peppers and jarred artichokes--I used the pre-made stuff to cut back on time. Salsa would probably also work pretty well. The idea is to give it a warm, saucey vibe.)

*Preheat oven to 350.*

Before I get started, I always like to peel the casings off the sausage. No real reason--I just don't like them. To do this, cut each sausage lengthwise, almost in half, but not quite (the casing will be the only thing connecting the two halves). Place it cut-sides-down on a cutting board, and from the top, pull the skin down and off. It will look something like a used condom. Throw it away.

Now you're ready to go.
  • Break sausage up into smaller pieces and put in a food processor. Pulse until the sausage is crumbled, like cooked ground meat. You can also do this with a blender. Or, if you're feeling spry, chop it extra-super-finely with a knife (this is how I used to do it, back when my kitchen setup was about as primal as my diet. Thank goodness for advances in technology).
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pour the crumbled sausage in, and stir it around a bit. Add onions and tapenade. Stir some more.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together. Once sausage begins to brown ever-so-slightly, add eggs and mix it around with a big spoon. Let the eggs cook for about a minute, then start scooping the sausage egg mixture into the hollowed out peppers. (The eggs will be very runny still--don't worry, they will cook the rest of the way in the oven.)
  • Place pepper halves in a roasting or cake pan lightly greased with olive oil.
  • Stick in oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until eggs are cooked all the way (you can tell by pushing you finger at the top of one--it should feel somewhat firm. If it still feels giggly, it's not done yet.)
  • Remove from oven and serve. I prefer to eat mine topped with salsa--but diced, canned tomatoes would probably be good too.

A few words about this recipe:
     Hot damn, these were delicious. Mike used expletives in describing how good they were--which means they definitely got two thumbs up--and he didn't even get to sample them fresh.  His were day-afters, reheated.
     The total cooking time can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don't have a lot of time in the morning. However, these come together pretty quickly and most of their journey to awesomeness is spent in the oven, so the actual work time/effort is minimal. They'll stay good in the fridge for at least a few days--so if you make a batch on, say, a Sunday, you won't have to worry about breakfast until later in the week.

     They are totally portable, and great for when you're on-the-go. I mean, what's better than a small, edible plate brimming with meat?

     Anyway, there's a million different ways you could spice up this recipe. You could try other varieties of chicken sausage (or skip the chicken sausage and just go for regular chicken. Or ground beef--ground beef with taco seasoning would probably be amazing. Like a little Paleo breakfast taco), or, mix other vegetables in with the eggs to keep things interesting. Or, line the pepper with cooked bacon before adding the sausage/egg mixture (that's a little more involved, but something tells me it would TOTALLY be worth it.)
     If you go with chicken sausages though, be sure to read the label because they're all different, and some contain some not-so-natural ingredients. I chose these ones in particular because they contained so few ingredients, and no sugar:

     Me likey that.

    Sometime next week I'll post another stuffed pepper recipe I came up with: Shrimp-Stuffed Peppers with Walnuts and Mirepoix Vegetables (just a fancy way of saying celery, carrot, and onion.)
    It will be delightful.

    In the meantime, check out this link detailing some of the health benefits of eggs, including information about choline (found in the yoke), a nutrient that is good for fetal brain and memory development, among other things.

     Try this recipe, or put your own spin on it? Let me know how it turns out!


Louise Smith said...

So jealous you have Trader Joes!!! NOT FAIR!! I left CA and came to Louisiana, TJ's hasn't made it down here yet! I am so deprived! :-)

libidiny said...

Right now, ours is across town--i practically have to make a field trip out to it to pick up what i need for the week. I heard we're getting one closer in the springtime though--i'm pretty pumped.
it'd be rough going from CA, when there's one every 10 miles, to not having one at all! my condolences.

Do you guys have a Whole Foods or anything similar, at least?

Anonymous said...

Made the peppers yesterday and they were a hit with the family (even the baby kept coming back for more!)

Being that it's tough with 2 kids to make a special trip to the store, I had similar items to everything in the list at home already. I just used regular eggs instead of the Omega 3's, all green peppers, salsa instead of the tapenade, and regular Italian sausage (the husband is a tough sell on Chicken Sausage, but I'm sure I could have used it and he wouldn't have known the difference....I have just learned not to tell him when I make such substitutions until after the fact).

I also had some baby bella's that I chopped up and threw into the mix. And being that we eat dairy, I did sprinkle (a minimal amount) of cheddar on top.

I like things with a little more zip, so I wish that on mine I would have topped it off with a bit more salsa, but they were still good nonetheless. Will definitely make them again in the future!

libidiny said...

I'm happy to hear they turned out! I'm definitely a big fan of using whatever you have at your disposal to make a meal--it's important to be resourceful. a lot of my meals are just me slapping a bunch of stuff i found in the fridge together--and it usually works out. :)

adding bellas was a great idea..i love me some mushrooms!

anyway, glad you dug the recipe!

HealBalanceLive said...

I have just discovered your blog and am having fun trying recipes, thanks!

Mrs. Rocketman said...

Hey there! I just made this recipe this morning (modified by using chorizo and green chile salsa, plus added a tiny bit of queso fresca on top) and it's AMAZING. Do you mind if I post on my blog, obviously with a link back to yours?

Gary said...

this looks good I'm going to try it out.

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