Perfect for a sunny afternoon meal or even brunch, these Provencal-inspired peppers are delectable hot, warm, or cold. All you need is a little salad and maybe some noodles or rice.
You may switch up the ricotta and use a soft goat cheese if you like that or half ricotta, half goat cheese.
We recommend making your own breadcrumbs. Throw some regular bread slices into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Very easy and any leftovers keep well in the freezer. You may use an artisan, rustic loaf, but the crumb will be larger and not as dry. In any event, try to use bread crumbs that are not seasoned.
Bake in a pan that fits the 4 peppers snugly and that has a lid.
4 red bell pepper
2 onions, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut in half, cored, and thinly slice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Bararat spice blend or 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, large size
1 large tomato, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup orange juice or chicken or vegetable stock
Cut a lid off each pepper and remove the stem. Set the lids aside. Remove all the seeds and membranes from the insides of the peppers. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion, some sea salt, and pepper. Saute until onions are starting to lose their moisture, about 5 minutes or so. It is fine if they start to brown. Add the fennel slices, toss together, and continue cooking another 5 to 10 minutes, until the fennel is softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, Baharat or orange zest and mix well. Add the ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and egg and mix all together very well. Set aside.
Place the tomato, remaining onion, and orange juice or stock in a braising pot or oven-proof saute pan. Choose a pan deep enough so that you can cover the pan tightly without touching the peppers.
Season inside the peppers with sea salt and pepper. Stuff the peppers with the cheese-fennel mixture and place in the pan on top of the tomatoes and onions. Put the slice of pepper back on top of each pepper for a lid. Cover the pan and bake about 1 hour, until tender.
When done, transfer the peppers to plates or a platter. Reduce the cooking juices in the pan until tasty and spoon over the peppers. Serve the peppers warm, room temperature, or even chilled, if you like.
Recipe and Photograph Copyright Deirdre Davis 2016
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