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Author Notes: This stuffed pepper recipe came about by accident, as so many great things do, and has quickly become a favourite recipe in the cooking arsenal. It's spicy, sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy, creamy and it involves goat cheese.... need I say more? —kate-monster
- 1 pound Hot Italian Sausage
- 4 Large Bell Peppers
- 2 Large Bulbs Fennel
- 1 Large Yellow Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Sage
- 1/4 teaspoon Dried Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 cup Wild Rice
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 4 tablespoons Chevre or Other Goat Cheese of Choice
- 1 splash Sherry or White Wine
- Preheat oven to 350F. Clean and prep bell peppers either by taking off the top or by halving them lengthwise. Place in baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Roast in oven until slightly wrinkly (~15 minutes or so). Once a little wrinkly, remove from oven and drain any water that may have accumulated in the peppers and the water from the pan.
- Cook 1 cup wild rice with 3.5 cups water according to package instructions - let this cook while you prep the filling as well.
- Meanwhile - In a large pot over medium heat, brown sausage and break up large bits so it has a good crumble. Remove from pot and set aside.
- In the same pot also over medium heat, melt butter and saute garlic and onion until slightly transparent. Add fennel. Cook until caramelized. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan frequently with your to get all the good tasty stuff from the bottom of the pan. As needed, add a splash (1-2 tbsp) sherry or wine to deglaze (I did it twice - once in the middle of caramelizing the fennel and again once the caramelization was almost complete).
- Add few grinds of s&p, sage, and red pepper flakes. Depending on how hot your italian sausage is and your preference for spicy, this can be altered. In this case, the sausage and the 1/4 tsp red pepper was enough to add a nice kick on the back.
- Once the fennel and onions are nicely caramelized and you've adjusted it to taste for spice, salt, and pepper, return the cooked sausage to the fennel and onion. By this point the wild rice should have just finished cooking. Add the rice to this sausage/fennel/onion mixture and combine well.
- Stuff the peppers with the sausage filling - a second person helps so you dont cover your kitchen in wild rice and sausage. Top peppers with chevre (you can never have too much really). Bake peppers in oven about 15 more minutes or until cheese has become a bit melty and peppers are tender.
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