Bringing together perfect partners – Pork, apples and maple!
We all know the bounty of pork products is beyond endless: bacon, pancetta, tenderloin, ham… the list goes on. This makes the possible recipe combinations even more endless. Having said that, I was inspired to create a dish that not only used local Ontario pork, but it’s perfect compliments – apples and maple.
Let’s start with bell peppers. We all have them as a staple in our fridge… right? Honestly I can’t say I’m a big fan of the green bell pepper, I prefer the sweeter more flavourful red, yellow, orange and even purple. It’s a rainbow of goodness that is just waiting to be stuffed!
Stuffed bell peppers are a go-to comfort food around our house. In the traditional recipe, peppers are stuffed with beef, rice and corn in a tomato sauce. I wanted to mix things up – think out of the box – go in a new direction… you’ve got the idea.
Preparing the peppers can go two ways. The first is to cut the top off and fill the whole thing with porky yumminess. The other option is to cut the pepper in half and serve them open-faced. This is the way I prefer because there is more surface area for lots of melted cheese!
If you don’t have 45 minutes to cook the peppers in the oven, you can shorten the overall time by simply pre-cooking them in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Then you’re just finishing the peppers and re-heating the already cooked stuffing… 25 minutes tops! So that’s it… dig in and enjoy!
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- 4 red, orange or yellow bell peppers
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- ¾ cup pancetta, cubed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 MacIntosh apple, chopped
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 lb. ground pork
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 398 ml can fire-roasted chopped stewed tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup fontina cheese, shredded
- Cut and clean out bell peppers. Season the inside with a pinch of salt.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a pan on medium-hi heat, add canola oil and sauté pancetta and onion for 4 minutes. Add apples and continue to cook for 2 minutes until soft. Stir in maple syrup then remove mixture to another bowl and set aside.
- Add ground pork, salt, pepper and sage to pan, breaking up meat with back of a spoon. Cook, stirring, until fully cooked, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add tomatoes with liquid and simmer for 2-4 minutes until most of the liquid is gone. Take off the heat and stir in pancetta mixture, quinoa and feta.
- Stuff mixture into prepared bell peppers, pressing down firmly. Sprinkle the fontina cheese over each filled pepper. Bake for 35-45 minutes until peppers are soft and cooked through.