You’ve got to be thinking, can’t Jackie go a week without using barley? I know I’ve used it a lot lately, but it’s just so good. And one small package makes SO much barley that it takes forever to use up. But the truth is, barley wasn’t the main inspiration for this dish. I really just wanted to make some type of stuffed pepper, and to use up the bison meat that’s been in the freezer since I bought it on a whim in January.
Why would I want to make a stuffed pepper in March, something I associate with summer eating? Primarily because I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables lately and thought this would be a great way to accomplish that. I’ve noticed I haven’t been getting anywhere near my recommended daily amounts, mainly because vegetables are so uninspiring this time of year. There are virtually no local vegetables available, and even the produce in the supermarket that’s been shipped in from Chile or somewhere seems a little fake.But I figured it’s time to suck it up and eat my veggies like a good girl.
This filling recipe for bison-barley stuffed peppers offers the perfect solution. It’s chock full of heart-healthy, nutritious ingredients such as spinach, barley, bison and the red peppers. There’s very little added fat and a lot of aromatic seasonings.
You’ve already “heard” me go on and on, and on, about the healthy values of barley, so this time I’ll focus on bison, a lean meat that tastes similar to beef. According to National Bison Association, bison is nutrient-dense, especially in iron and essential fatty acids, and is significantly lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than chicken.
The website says: “nutritionally you are getting more protein and nutrients with fewer calories and less fat. Buffalo is a dense meat that that tends to satisfy you more while eating less.”
Sounds like a winning ingredient to me.
Bison-Barley Stuffed Peppers - serves 8
1/2 cup pearled barley
2 cups water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground bison
1 1/2 cups chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 red bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Make the barley by combining it in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low. Cover and simmer until cooked, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minute, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Mix in the bison, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the spinach and remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Fold in the cooked barley.
Arrange the red pepper halves in a baking dish so that they’re snug. Spoon the mixture into the peppers being sure to fill completely. Pour 1/2 cup water into the bottom of the baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and spoon 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese over each pepper. Bake uncovered 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.