I thrive on the challenge of repurposing yesterday's leftovers. There's a certain thrill I get out of opening the fridge and taking out bits and pieces of this and that and combining it with some basic pantry staples to create something totally new. Not only, have I found, does this help to keep my taste buds anticipating the next dish, but it also helps me with my kitchen improvising skills and learning about how different flavors work together.
The other day, Burger Boy made this incredible Bolognese; slowly simmering some gorgeous steaks in a mixture of diced carrots and onions with crushed tomatoes until all of the flavors just came together. He then used the hearty sauce to make a comforting lasagna made with a mess of pasta sheets, a mushroom brie bechamel sauce and the satisfying Bolognese sauce. Naturally it wasn't long before the lasagna plate was scraped clean. He hadn't used all of the sauce in making the lasagna and since I wanted to avoid the easy route of just serving it over a pile of pasta, I took the opportunity to cook the sauce with bulgur wheat to create something new. Bearing similar qualities to polenta but with much more of a bite, the Bolognese and bulgur wheat was heartier and so satisfying, rich with all of the flavors that made the sauce so good to begin with. Once the bulgur was cooked through, it found its way into hollowed out yellow peppers and then cheese was melted on top, because, well, what's a stuffed pepper without a healthy bit of melted cheese on top?
If you find yourself without homemade Bolognese on hand, fret not. You can substitute your own favorite sauce instead. Also, don't miss out on your opportunity for creativity here as this dish is a great way to use up some vegetables or meats that may be just kicking around your fridge. If you find yourself a little short on time, feel free to substitute quick cooking couscous for the bulgur or take a little more time and make some quinoa. Nice, easy and just healthy enough, this makes for a great weeknight meal.
Makes 2 stuffed peppers with extra bulgur
- 2 peppers
- 1 1/2 cups Bulgur Wheat
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups Bolognese sauce
- Salt to taste
- Cheddar cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully carve out the top of the pepper, where the stem is, and remove the seeds while keeping the pepper in tact. Bake on a cookie sheet until the peppers soften, about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring the bulgur wheat, water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the bulgur is tender (about 30 minutes). Special note: if you notice that the bulgur has absorbed all of the water and is still not cooked, just add a bit more.
Once the bulgur is cooked, stir in the sauce and fill peppers with the bulgur-sauce mixture. Top with cheese and bake again for another 15 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve immediately on top of a pile of extra bulgur.
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