nigel’s top ten – peppers with pork and rosemary

when i said i was going to cook my way through nigel slater’s top ten recipes a couple of friends mentioned they might also try some of them. in two instances this stuffed peppers recipe was chosen and in both cases the feedback wasn’t brilliant - one said she had found the dish bland; she was also not keen on nigel’s suggestion to boil the halved peppers before stuffing them and recommended roasting them instead; my other friend had more success having used sausage meat with added herbs – again the view was that the original recipe needed a helping hand.

so, how did i get on?

i decided to use the advice i’d been given – i was making half quantities so kept the flavourings as suggested, effectively doubling the recommended amount of rosemary, garlic and parmesan. i also pre-roasted the peppers for 15 minutes to soften them and help concentrate their flavour, rather than boiling them (which also meant one less dish to wash!). the result was pretty good and i was pleased that i’d made these changes. we had a couple of stuffed peppers leftover which i chopped up and mixed through with pasta and a little water, to make an easy packed lunch.

the final verdict:

would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of nigel’s top ten? no – years of eating stuffed vegetables when i was vegetarian put me off this type of dish.

would i try this recipe again in the future? probably not - the recipe is fine but it’s not particularly interesting and i think i’d prefer to try other options with these ingredients (unless i needed a low carb option). however, i did like the strength of flavour that the rosemary gave the dish and will try and remember this for future pork dishes.

nigel slater’s peppers with pork and rosemary (october 2008) serves 4

1 large onion

2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a little more

2 cloves of garlic (abby note - i doubled this)

3 bushy sprigs of rosemary (abby note -i doubled this)

2 large tomatoes

350g minced pork

50g breadcrumbs

6 small red peppers

grated parmesan (abby note - i added some to my pork mix, as well as scattering it on top)

set the oven to 200c. peel and finely chop the onion, put it into a large, shallow pan with the oil over a moderate heat. let the onion soften without colouring. peel and slice the garlic, chop the leaves from the sprigs of rosemary and add to the onions. when all is soft and fragrant, chop the tomatoes and stir them in. cook until the tomatoes have collapsed into the sauce. season with salt and pepper, then stir in the minced pork and the breadcrumbs. remove from the heat.

cut the peppers in half lengthways then (abby note - i omitted this stage, instead roasting the halved peppers for 15 mins, having rubbed them with a little oil) lower into a pan of boiling water for 6-8 minutes until they are slightly limp). remove them with a draining spoon and put them skin-side down in a baking dish. divide the pork mixture between the peppers then moisten with a little olive oil. scatter grated parmesan over the peppers and bake for 35 minutes or so till sizzling.