Stuffed Bell Peppers

In our neck of the South, stuffed peppers mean mild, fleshy bells filled with a mixture of rice and meat or seafood, usually ground beef or shrimp. A vegetarian version with beans is wonderful as well.

Select peppers that are globular rather than oblong, slice off the top, and remove whites and seeds; a lot of people parboil the peppers, but don’t. For a stuffing mixture, use a 50/50 blend of rice/meat or beans in a light tomato sauce seasoned with black pepper, sage, and basil.

Crowd into a casserole, baste with more sauce and place in a medium (300) oven until peppers are cooked through. Baste again with sauce, top with dry white cheese, and toast.

Shrimp and Beans

You’ll find dishes with beans and seafood across the globe, and while this recipe is usually styled “Creole” a very similar Italian recipe uses diced tomatoes. You can use tomatoes in this as well, simply add them with the shrimp.

Put a pound of dried white beans (Navy, northern, or baby limas) in a heavy saucepan, add three cups of water, cover, bring to a boil, and place in a 300 oven for about two hours, until cooked through A bay leaf or two is a nice touch. Sauté a large white onion, a cup of diced celery, and a diced ripe sweet pepper with a couple of minced cloves of garlic in olive oil. When the vegetables are soft, add a pound of peeled, medium-count shrimp and cook over medium heat until firm.

Combine the shrimp and vegetables with the beans. Add the diced tomatoes, if you like. Season with dried basil and thyme, ground black pepper, chopped fresh parsley, and salt to taste. You can make this as soupy as you like by adding weak stock.

Some people add diced smoked sausage or ham, and the dish is usually served over rice.

Chicken Chili

For six generous servings, sear until soft one large white onion and a big poblano chopped with a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Add about a pound of cubed boneless chicken or turkey breast, cook until done through. Mix with one 15 oz. can of great northern, navy, or cannellini beans, one of pinto,  a cup of chicken broth, and a can of Rotel.

Season with cumin, oregano, and white pepper to taste. Some people add basil, but don’t. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until you get a heavy consistency. Crema is a nice touch.