My Hungarian grandmother always made stuffed peppers together with stuffed cabbage. She also used to pickle round red peppers stuffed with shredded cabbage. So here I came up with the idea to include cabbage in the filling for my stuffed peppers. I wanted to make a really flavorful stuffed pepper with a celebration of the color red. Using red quinoa, red onion, and red cabbage I like the sweet/sour balance these add. I first started playing with cutting a crenulated edge along the top of the pepper as a decorative feature, but have found there are functional roles as well. By cutting a triangular border into the top of the pepper, you have extra chunks leftover to dice up for the filling. When simmering the stuffed peppers, their triangles soften and fold in to enclose the filling. My grandmother also taught me to make a broth for these, not a sauce. I have made one from carrots, tomatoes, onions and dominantly peppers. I have included some fire roasted peppers in making the broth which add a depth of flavor. In a pinch a large can of whole tomatoes in puree can work well. This is a whole meal in itself. I have used both smoked and sweet Hungarian paprika. I do not recommend the hot for this recipe because I think it competes against the natural sweetness of the red pepper. But you must use premium quality paprika! If you have any leftover filling, you can either make small meatballs out of it and cook them in the broth or bake a mini meatloaf in the oven. There is enough filling for 6 peppers given here. I only made two peppers this time to test out the new filling, so I made a good size meatloaf topped with fire-roasted peppers. Traditionally I use uncooked rice that has first soaked in cool water for at least an hour. The whole grain quinoa adds a nutty texture and flavor to the filling which I really like. An richer alternative to the broth is to serve this with my red pepper semolina soup, which is pictured in some of the photos. I like the contrast of color and textures with this, especially as a dinner entree. —Sagegreen
whole red quinoa, uncooked, soaked in water
fresh vegetable broth, made from fire roasted as well as uncooked red pepper, tomatoes, carrots, onions and herbs (see photo) with canned stewed tomatoes as alternative
sweet red Hungarian paprika
bouquet garni of fresh herbs (thyme, marjoram, parsley, even some basil)
sweet paprika for garnish
dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche, or fage for serving
fresh chopped parsley for serving
red pepper semolina soup as a richer alternative to the vegetable broth
In This Recipe
Soak the quinoa in water for an hour and then drain off the water. Mix gently the next ten ingredients on the recipe list together with the quinoa for the filling.
Cut a border of triangles out of the top edge of the peppers, about an inch in height. Clean out their seeds and interior membranes. Take the cut out triangles and dice smaller. Add these into the filling mixture.
Stuff the peppers up to the beginning of the triangular border. The quinoa will expand when cooking.
Arrange these in a large Dutch oven and add the broth. Make sure to add sweet paprika to the broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes. While cooking ladle some broth over the peppers. Make sure the quinoa is fully cooked. Remove the peppers carefully to a bowl and peel off their skins, if desired. Replace back into the broth to keep warm until serving. If you do not mind the skins, you can simply skip this step.
Serve with a generous ladle-ful of broth in a bowl, or alternatively for a a richer meal with my red pepper semolina soup (see other recipe on this site). Fold the triangles inwards. Garnish with sour cream, creme fraiche or fage, chopped flat leaf parsley and sweet paprika.