Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kat: Seeing is Believing

Let's cut to the chase....I did not BELIEVE this recipe was going to work until I SAW (and tasted) the results!! I came up with this gem after a chilly day at work (no one else seems to think that working in a 65* room is uncomfortable!). I knew that I wanted some comfort food (I LOVE traditional chili), but I also had some beautiful bell peppers and fresh wheat berries sitting on the shelf. Somewhere in the middle of my brainstorm Chili Chili in a Pepper was born!

I had never cooked with...or even tried...wheat berries before this meal. I was a little scared to throw an ingredient that I've never worked with before into a dish that I was making up on the fly. Thankfully, wheat berries are a delicious alternative to rice. Before you cook them, they look like this:

After you simmer them in water for about an hour or so, they turn chewy...a delightful combination of the taste of rice and the texture of fresh corn kernels. YUM.

I highly advise you to try asap!

Now to the main event:
Chili Chili in a Pepper

3/4 c. wheat berries, cooked
1/2 c. black beans, cooked
1/2 c. red kidney beans, cooked
1 large onion
2 large red bell peppers
1 serrano chili, diced (if you don't like spicy things, remove some/most of the seeds)
1/2 small zucchini, diced
1 c. tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili spice
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
dash red pepper flakes
handful of parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cover beans & wheat berries (in separate pots!) with water and simmer until tender (about 1 hour) can also use canned beans if you don't have the time
2. Cut the tops off (reserve for later) of the red peppers and onion.
3. De-seed the peppers. Hollow out the onion like a pumpkin:

4. Pre cook the onion, peppers, and their tops on a baking sheet at 350* for 25 minutes
5. While they are cooking, saute onions and garlic in a bit of oil (2-4 minutes).
6. After the onion turns translucent add a pinch of salt, tomatoes, and zucchini. Saute for
two minutes then add the spices.
7. Add the chili, wheat berries, and beans. Stir well until everything is evenly coated with the spices. Saute for several minutes.
7. When peppers and onion are done pre-baking, take out of the oven and fill with the bean mixture.

8. Place back on the baking sheet, close up onion & pepper with their "lids" drizzle with a little oil, then bake for 30 more minutes

9. When the peppers and onion are soft, wilted, and easily pierced with a fork, they are done
10. Serve with chopped parsley, maybe some grated cheese, salsa....get creative!

I was really shocked how well this turned out. The taste of chili and roasted vegetables along with the texture of wheat berries was a unique and delicious combination. I'm so glad I took the leap and incorporated a new (to me) ingredient....from now on I plan to make a habit of expanding the horizons of my taste buds. Any suggestions???

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