I was planning to stuff poblanos this week, when, to my disappointment, they did not have any at the store. So I nabbed a couple of pretty red bell peppers instead, not even bothering to wonder WHY there were no poblanos to be had.
Of course once I got home, it finally dawned on me that the reason there were no hot peppers around is because they are completely out of season right now, and that the red peppers I had gotten in their place were probably grown in a greenhouse, or, more realistically, flown up from Chile.
An acquaintance of mine once asked, in a public forum, why it was that chili festivals are always in the fall. The obvious answer – because that’s when chiles are in season – is hardly obvious at all if what you are used to is grocery store shopping with its year-round abundance. And apparently even for the longtime CSA subscribers, the farm lesson of seasonal eating is easily forgotten when faced with the grocery store.
Of course, there are always vegetables I pick up at the store – I need garlic and onions pretty much year-round, and feel just fine grabbing them. I am also happy to nab things that never come in the CSA – mushrooms, artichokes (I’ve never gotten them in a share before, but we’ll see what happens with the new subscription), and all manner of dried beans. But I’m going to try to be a bit more conscious about not grabbing things that are so far out of season from here on out.
In case you wish to follow my plan though, I have to say, this dish was spectacular.
- 2 large red bell peppers
- spinach (about 5 – 6 spinach plants)
- 1/2 C rice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 C grated romano, or Parmesan, or a combo
- 2 Tbs chopped parsley
- Salt and Pepper
Take the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Char the outsides of the peppers over an open gas flame (or using your favorite method) until fully blackened. When cool, gently remove the skin taking care not to tear the peppers. Meanwhile, cook the rice following package directions.
In a large pot, add 1/2 C water an cleaned spinach. Cook until water is almost gone and spinach is thoroughly soft. Add a swirl of EVOO and the garlic (either minced or crushed). Cook another minute or two more. Let cool. Remove spinach mix to a cutting board and chop fine. Combine spinach, cooked rice, and cheese in a bowl. Season with parsley and salt and pepper. Gently stuff the peppers with the mix. You can do this part up to several days in advance.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake peppers for 25 minutes. Serve hot.