Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Veggie Cups

I love the fact that this bright red pepper cup presents all buttoned up and pristine, the perfect little side serving of veggies neatly tucked away. But the minute you slice into it, there's a party on your plate! One slice and you get a brilliant burst of flavor and interest... infusing your plate with all the goodness a good grill deserves.

Barbecuing is the perfect way to go when temps heat up... which has recently been the case. However, regardless of what we happen to be grilling, I need something on the side that really delivers... a sauce, a soupy medley, a fruity salsa... to accompany our main. Something to give whatever we happen to be grilling a nice, compatible balance of flavor, texture and substance. Why just spoon a sauté of veggies over whatever you happen to be grilling when you can compose it in a neat, little package?

On this particular occasion, we were finishing off a week of Paleo cooking (as you do to accommodate whomever happens to be visiting). On the grill: chicken. The sauce of the day: a grilled veggie salsa composed of roma tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and garlic seasoned with a good dash of kosher salt and ground black pepper, and topped off with some fresh chopped cilantro. (The veggies just take minutes on the grill and then get popped into a food processor... let them sit to cool a bit... whirred up, seasoned... and cilantro'd. Just remember to get the skins off your grilled garlic before processing).

While the grill is going, pop your red pepper cups into the oven and get your filling started on the stovetop. While you can include just about any veggie that strikes your fancy, we went with a simple sauté of onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Round it all out with a simple salad and you are good to go.

Roasted Red Pepper Veggie Cups
serves 2

While it's pretty common to stuff peppers and pop them in the oven, these little red pepper cups go in solo. Depending on how hearty your appetite, you can either cut the stem from the top of each pepper, removing the core and cleaning out any remaining seeds, to create two large cups. Or halve each pepper, crosswise, and core and seed each halve to create two smaller cups from each pepper. You may have to trim "bottoms" of cups to help them stand up properly... just be careful to not cut through the pepper when trimming bottoms, or your saucy sauté will leak out. 

2 red peppers, top stem/cap removed, cored and seeded (or, see above note to create 2 cups from each pepper)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, halved and sliced (about 1 cup sliced)
10 mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 to 3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup no-chicken or vegetable broth
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush red peppers with olive oil, to lightly coat (1 teaspoon will easily coat both peppers). Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, until just starting to get translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, until mushrooms are lightly golden. Season mixture with salt and pepper, to taste. Add tomatoes (and a little more salt and pepper, to taste) and cook for another minute or so, then add broth. Reduce heat and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

To serve, fill red pepper cups with veggie sauté.

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