The Flagler Beach Farmer’s Market has bell peppers at a reasonable price and when I see them, my thoughts turn to this wonderful recipe inspired by the flavors of Southern France. As some of you may know, this was supposed to be the year that we were going to Paris and Provence. But I am not the only one who has dreams in this marriage. It has always been David’s dream to ride his motorcycle to Alaska and the Arctic Circle. He is not getting any younger and spending a month on his bike and riding thousands of miles is not for the feeble or infirm. So this is his year. His riding companion will be our Son’s Father-In-Law. The ladies will fly to Anchorage when they reach their destination and we will spend a couple of weeks riding with them and taking a ferry to Vancouver Island and on to Oregon to fly home. They, of course, will ride home. So, instead of packing chic clothes for Paris and billowy linen for Provence, I will be packing two pairs of jeans, sweaters and my riding gear. Helmet head is not one of my favorite looks.
This recipe, in it’s original form appeared years ago in Bon Appetit Magazine. It was an article on Provence and the hill town of Gordes. I loved the ingredients and have adapted it over the years. Many times peppers are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and rice. What I loved about this rendition was the use of shredded zucchini instead of rice and sausage. I flavor the mixture with chopped rosemary, parsley and garlic.
PROVENCAL STUFFED PEPPERS
1 1/2 pounds sausages (I used lean turkey sausages), casings removed
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 large)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
4 medium-size red, green or orange bell pepper, halved lengthwise, and seeded
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook sausage in a skillet, breaking up until most of the fat has rendered and the sausage is almost done. Drain sausage on paper toweling and then transfer to a large bowl. Add next 8 ingredients and mix to combine. Fill pepper halves with sausage mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange in 13 x 9 x 2 inch oiled baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.).
Bake peppers covered loosely with foil for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and increase heat to 425 degrees F. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until tops are browned. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.
My dreams of Provence may be on hold, but at least I can eat like I am there. Bon appetit.