Another old-fashioned classic

Cheesy red peppers stuffed with rice

I had my mind set on trying out a tofu based veggie type of fish and chip supper but when I got to my local supermarket I found not only did they not sell tofu but they also appeared to be sold out of almost all fresh vegetables. This is the same supermarket that used to consistently sell out of bread and milk. So some quick thinking based on a limited choice lead me to another old family favourite. Red peppers stuffed with a rice mixture then smothered in cheese sauce.

1 Onion – chopped
1 Clove garlic – finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tomatoes – finely chopped (it’s OK to leave the skins on)
Vegetable stock
Basmati rice
4 red peppers – halved and seeds removed
Large knob of butter
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
1 tablespoon plain white flour
Milk – probably about half a litre – not quite sure
Large chunk of mature cheddar

Start by making the rice. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan then add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add the oregano, then the tomatoes. Cook for a while longer until the tomatoes start to break up. Now add the rice, stir then add the stock. Enough to cover the rice by about 1cm. Bring to boil then simmer until peaks form. Put a lid on the pan and remove it from the heat. Leave to one side for about 15 minutes until the stock has been fully absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, place the halved peppers in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 10 minutes to soften slightly.

Now make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the mustard powder and flour and stir. Cook for 2 minutes or so then add the milk a little at a time, stirring to ensure no lumps. Keep adding milk until you have what you think looks like enough sauce. Continue to heat and stir. When almost boiling add the cheese – grated of cut into small pieces – stir and heat gently until melted.

Drain the peppers and place in a large oven proof dish. Fill each pepper with the rice.

Cover with the cheese sauce then bake in the oven at 200C for about 30 minutes until browned on top.

Serve with salad and french bread – and a generous splash of tabasco.


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