Category Archives: Sweet red peppers

Creamy snap pea & green bean casserole

We were sledding with the kids all Sunday afternoon in the sunny cold, so I really wanted to make and enjoy a soup for dinner…. but somehow a casserole came about. Look, a bag of frozen Tantre sugar snap peas is still left in the freezer! And some open green beans and red peppers. No soup for dinner, but still a warm and comfy dish for a Sunday evening.

I modeled this after a traditional green bean casserole but then changed it willy nilly because (like usual) I didn’t have on hand all the ingredients for any particular recipe. This recipe sort of follows the Cooks Illustrated Nov-Dec 2006 proclaimed Worlds Best Green Bean Casserole. But with sugar snap peas. And ricotta. And a handful of Locavorious’ frozen red peppers. You get the picture. Probably not worthy of the CI lofty proclamation of world’s best, but yummy to me, and Chef Jeff proclaimed it the best green bean casserole he’s ever agreed to eat. Casserole creation is pretty amenable to whatever you have on hand – some leftover ricotta cheese seemed like a nice substitution for cream or half & half. The sugar snap peas are a lovely sweet addition to traditional green beans.

Locavorious sugar snap peas from spring 2009 came from Rowe’s U-pick in Ypsilanti, the Goetz family farm in Riga, and Tantre Farm in Chelsea. 

Ingredients:

16 oz Locavorious frozen sugar snap peas

~ 8 oz frozen green beans (probably could use 16 oz bag if desired)

6-10 frozen red pepper strips, coarsely chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves or ~ 1 T chopped garlic

~ 8 oz mushrooms

1 T butter

1 t salt

½ t freshly ground black pepper

1 or 2 T flour

¾ cup chicken or veggie stock

1 tablespoon dry sherry

~ ¾ cup ricotta (or half & half, heavy cream, or my guess is even cottage cheese would work)

 

Preparation:

Rinse the frozen snap peas, green beans and red pepper strips in a colander to start defrosting. Let rest in the colander while you prep everything else.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Clean and chop or break up the mushrooms. Melt butter in a large skillet; add onions and sauté over med-low heat to soften. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Stirring often, cook until the mushrooms begin to soften and lose their moisture, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook ~ minute. Add the soup stock and sherry; bring to a simmer. Add the ricotta (or dairy product of choice) and simmer, stirring a little to break the cheese into a smooth sauce. Simmer to thicken for ~ 10 minutes.

Rinse peas & beans again if they are still icy; dry them a bit with paper towels. Add the peas, beans and peppers to the sauce. Stir to incorporate and return to a low simmer while you get the topping ready.

For a nice topping: toast 1 or 2 slices of whole grain bread. Put the toast in a food processor along with 1 T butter, a shake or two of: salt, pepper, oregano and/or thyme. Pulse in the food processor until blended.

Transfer hot veggie mixture to a greased quiche dish or baking pan. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. For an old fashioned touch you could also sprinkle the top with fried onions. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until piping hot & bubbly. Let set a couple of minutes before serving.

 

Lamb and Red Pepper Ragù with Pasta

Cold weather makes me want to eat hearty meat-filled meals, and recently I was fortunate enough to get a ½ lamb from Old Pine Farm. Here’s a great hearty winter meal that works wonderfully with the strong flavor of locally raised, free range lamb. Lamb pairs well with the taste of peppers. If you are lucky enough to have one of the Locavorious bags of frozen Tantre Farm incredibly sweet and hot Carmen peppers, this recipe is a wonderful use of them, along with the frozen whole Roma tomatoes.

The recipe has been adapted from Cooking Light’s “Abruzzese Lamb and Red Pepper Ragù with Penne.” I’ve never visited the Abruzzo region of Italy, so if you have let me know if it’s true what foodie people say that the rustic Abruzzee cuisine is an undiscovered treasure of Italian cooking. Home of both mountains and extensive coastline, the Abruzzo region is known for hearty mountain recipes, a lot of seafood specialties, and strong flavorful dishes. To make this recipe even more authentically Abruzzese, use chili peppers to increase the spiciness and use an egg pasta, and to make it more Michivore pick up some handmade pasta from Pasta e Pasta from Diane and Debbie at the Farmers Market or some Al Dente Pasta.

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

2 cups finely chopped red onion

12 oz Locavorious frozen red bell pepper slices (or 3 cups bell pepper slices)

4 teaspoons minced garlic cloves

~ 1 lb ground lamb (other ground meats would work just fine too)

1 cup dry red wine

16 oz Locavorious frozen whole tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 bay leaves

~ 2 cups chicken broth

~ 8 cups hot cooked penne (about 1 pound uncooked tube-shaped pasta or other short pasta)

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red peppers and cook an additional 6 or so minutes. Remove onion mixture from pan.

Add lamb to pan; cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain. Return onion mixture and lamb to pan. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

Add tomatoes, 3 tablespoons parsley, salt, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. (Discard tomato skins if desired.) Add pasta and cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.