Red Bell Peppers Stuffed with Smoked Sausage, Garlic Seared Spinach, Feta and Rice

These crunchy juicy sweet red bell peppers were just asking to get stuffed and baked, so we obliged with lots of savory stuff like spinach seared in tons of garlic and Italian olive oil, smoked Cajun sausages and Italian sausages, lots of feta cheese along with three other cheeses like Pecorino Romano grated inside with smoked Provolone and Gruyere on top, held together with our own spiced Jasmine rice… all made really creamy with roasted red pepper and tomato sauce.   They are crazy tasty awesome wonderful.

When we are in a hurry, lately this is our go-to dinner mini-feast.  It’s fun, fast and spicy, because we serve it with Harissa on the side.  It’s even better the next day for lunch, when the flavors have all married and gone to Umami Heaven!

Ingredients

4 to 6 large juicy square shaped fresh red bell peppers, cut in half, longways

8 oz of Cajun smoked Andouille sausage, cut into medium pieces, and/or 12 oz. of chopped Italian sausage or ground turkey, pork or beef (we often use ground turkey thighs spiced with our own Italian spices together with Cajun sausage, for their smoky taste and intense umami flavors)

4 tablespoons olive oil (2 for the spinach and 2 for the ground meat)

4 to 5 large garlic cloves, crushed

2 to 3 large shallots, minced

12 oz. of baby spinach

8 oz. feta cheese, broken into small pieces

4 oz. of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated

4 oz of smoked Provolone cheese or Gruyere cheese (we often use both on top of the stuffed peppers)

2 cups of Jasmine rice, already cooked but still slightly al dente

8 oz of roasted red pepper and tomato soup, simmered down from 16 oz 

1 tablespoon fennel seed, ground 

1 pinch saffron 

1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika 

1 cup of Italian parsley, loosely chopped 

3/4 cup Panko 

1 teaspoon salt (if you are using sausage rather than ground meat, you only need 1/2 teaspoon for this entire feast because there is so much salt in the cheeses and the sausages)

1 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking

On low heat, reduce the roasted red pepper and tomato soup/sauce by half, add the saffron and allow to cool.

Saute the spinach in olive oil and the garlic until greatly reduced and very intense.

Sauted shallots and then add the Italian sausage, ground meats and/or Cajun sausage, slow sear until just browned, and then place in a bowl with the spinach.

To this mixture add Italian parsley, fennel, Panko, feta, rice, grated pecorino cheese, and roasted red pepper and tomato sauce. Stir together until well mixed.

Stuff the peppers, place the Gruyere cheese and/or smoked Provolone cheese over the top, and oven roast at 350 for 30 minutes.

If the peppers are really big, and fully stuffed, we bake them at 400 for 35 minutes.

The melty burned cheeses with the sausage and intense spinach are Umami Bombi!