I’m a sucker for purple produce.
Purple string beans, purple cauliflower, purple potatoes. They’re all just so lush.
The king of purple produce, to me, is a purple pepper.
I don’t think most purple produce actually tastes any different than its green brothers and sisters, with the exception of purple peppers. So crisp! So fresh! So purple!
Atlee likes to have blindfolded bell pepper tastings at parties, because she likes to see if anyone can taste the difference between red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers. I’ve never actually partaken in this little party game because, well, see above.
But hell! If she threw a purple pepper in there, sign me up! I’ll take the win there.
Here’s the rub with most purple produce, though. If you cook it, it doesn’t stay that lovely purple color. It turns green, and then it just looks like normal, boring, not-purple produce. Or worse, brown.
So normally, I just eat it raw. Since most purple produce comes super fresh from the farmer’s market, it’s excellent raw. Plus, find me a reason to make ranch dip and I’ll do it in a heartbeat.
The thing is though, looks aren’t everything. Looks fade! What matters is inside!
Which brings me to this retro-ish recipe – stuffed peppers, baybeee!
Even the picky eater in me can get behind these, because you don’t have to overcook the peppers* to cook the filling. My crisp, fresh peppers still taste crisp and fresh. Al dente, if you will. They do, however, lose a little bit of their glitz and glam. Once stuffed and cooked, these peppers won’t win any beauty pageants. Purple peps, glorious as they are in their raw state, turn worse than green. They turn brown.
Guess what! Take a page out of Atlee’s book – put a blindfold on!
Stuffed peppers are one of those super adaptable recipes, great for using what you have on hand. I’ll include my “recipe” below, but this is so customizable, as long as you have a few ingredients on hand, you’re good to go.
If you’re not feeling the ground meat, I’m sure there are vegetarian alternatives…I’m the wrong person to ask, though. Traditionally, these are made with rice, but I used quinoa a few weeks ago and it was delish. Breadcrumbs are often called for, but you can use an egg to bind just as easily, and cheese to top. What I’m saying is – do whatever you want!
Now, go get yourself a few peppers. Purple, if you can. They’re in season. Go crazy – some to stuff, some to dip in ranch, and some to throw a party with.
*ie. Please do not steam the peppers before assembling, as The Joy of Cooking instructs you to do. Blech.
Serves: 2 very hungry people
***Note: As is typical of me – measurements are loose in this recipe. I forgot to take notes. And honestly, this is the sort of cooking where you kinda do what you want. Trust your instincts. Yadda yadda. My peppers were super stuffed, yours do not need to be as stuffed/you can always get another pepper to stuff.
2 bell peppers, halved length-wise and seeded
½ lb ground pork (you may want to either cut this amount down or stuff an additional pepper!)
1 cup cooked rice
½ cup breadcrumbs, plus some to sprinkle on top
½ diced onion (any color you want, pals!)
2-3 cloves garlic, microplaned
A handful of cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ cup grated parmesan, plus more to sprinkle on top
A handful of assorted herbs, chopped (I used parsley and basil from the yard)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
Olive oil, to drizzle
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Put your peppers on a sheet tray, open side facing up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. A generous pinch or two of each should do it.
- In a medium bowl (or like, a large bowl or whatever you have, ya know), mix together the ground pork, rice, ½ cup breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, tomatoes, ½ cup parmesan, chopped herbs, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until combined.
- Stuff your peps!
- Sprinkle some breadcrumbs over the top, if you’d like, followed by a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- Pop your peps in the oven, for about 20-30 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer to be safe that the pork is cooked through. (It should be at least 145 degrees) Dig in!