Monday, February 14, 2011

Moosewood Mondays: Bulgarian Pepper Casserole

Lately I've been obsessed with the glorious combination of sausage, peppers, and onions.  I think I've indulged in this heavenly trinity of ingredients at least once a week for a full month now.  When I saw this recipe for Bulgarian Pepper Casserole, I knew it was something I had to have.
This recipe for Bulgarian Pepper Casserole was written meat-free, a combination of colorful bell peppers mixed with brown rice, lots of onions, 8 cloves of garlic, as well as tangy feta cheese and some very creamy whipped ricotta.  I added 1/2 pound of ground Italian sausage because I had some on hand.  Katzen suggests topping the casserole with sliced tomatoes and olives.  I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand so I just sprinkled with olives and popped it in the oven.  The end result was a gloriously cheesy, fully flavored, delicious casserole that is reminiscent of a stuffed pepper.  A great recipe!
Bulgarian Pepper Casserole
Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook
Serves 6-8 easily
1-1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
2-3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons freshly minced dill (or 2 tsp. dried dill)
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups minced onion
4-5 medium green and or red bell peppers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt (more, to taste)
fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons basil
8 medium cloves garlic, half of them minced, half of them sliced (keep minced and sliced garlic separate)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1-1/2 cups cottage or ricotta cheese (may be lowfat)
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1 cup whole Nicoise olives (or sliced, pitted Kalamata olives) possibly more, to taste
Optional: 1/2 ground Italian sausage, cooked (my addition)

Place rice and water in a saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down as low as possible, and simmer without interruption for about 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and stir in lemon juice and dill.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onions, and saute over medium heat 5-8 minutes, or until the onions become soft.  Add peppers, salt, pepper, and herbs, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes, or until the peppers are tender.  Stir in the minced garlic (save the sliced garlic for later) and cook for just a minute more.  Remove from heat, and stir in the feta cheese.

When you are ready to assemble the casserole, preheat the oven to 375F.  Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

Place the cottage or ricotta cheese in a blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade, and whip until smooth.

Combine rice, pepper saute, and whipped cheese in a large bowl, and mix until very well combined.  Transfer to the prepared pan, and spread into place.  Top with tomato slices, then scatter olives and slices of garlic in a liberated, random fashion over the tomates.

Bake uncovered at 375F until bubbly- about 30 - 40 minutes.  Serve hot or warm.

Notes/Results:  Something about this casserole just screams old-fashioned food to me.  It reminds me of my Mom's stuffed peppers, but in a casserole form.  I'm finding that Katzen's recipes are full of herbs, aromatics, and seasonings  which makes her recipes extremely flavorful.  I loved the use of all the fresh herbs in this recipe, as well as the use of 8 cloves of garlic.  I'm all for bringing on the flavor!  This is a keeper recipe and one that would feed a crowd.
If you're interested in participating with Moosewood Mondays, please click HERE for more information.  If you would like to play along, but don't have any Moosewood books, there is a wonderful website full of recipes HERE.


  1. YUM! Sounds fabulous!! I am always on the lookout for a new side dish and this one sounds like it fits the bill. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a fun looking casserole, lots of pretty colours and great ingredients.
    Have a wonderful Valentine's Day.
    *kisses* HH

  3. I love stuffed peppers, so I'm sure this recipe would be just as well received. Casseroles are so comforting and this one looks like no exception :o)

  4. Oh, this sounds good! I might have to play along with you all!

  5. This is something I have to have too! Looks fantastic. You are right about flavor--it seems that flavor just oozes out of this recipe!

  6. I have a deep and intense love of sausage and peppers as it reminds me of food from my childhood. I can remember eating those hoagie sandwiches at street fairs. Yum.

    I love this casserole, especially the black olives on top!

  7. oh YUM! this is my kind of casserole. the flavors look so rich and comforting! i have a little shoutout for you on my blog :)

  8. Costo had a good deal on all the various peppers this week. Now I know what I can do with them all! You take great photos by the way :-)

  9. I love this deconstructed version of stuffed peppers. Comforting, indeed!

  10. mmmm...sounds so good! I'm still waiting on my books, so thanks for pointing out that to check it out =)

  11. your posts have inspired me to pull out my Moosewood cookbook. I only have the first one with all vegeterian recipes, but this looks amazing!

  12. I looove the flavor trio of peppers, onions, and sausage as never gets old!

  13. oh this sounds and looks so wonderful! I love all of Katzan's recipes and dug out my cookbooks for this roundup and then with the busy-ness of valentine's, i totally forgot! I've got to put this down on my calendar; such a great idea! Hope you had a sweet day and weekend, Kim!

  14. oh this sounds and looks so wonderful! I love all of Katzan's recipes and dug out my cookbooks for this roundup and then with the busy-ness of valentine's, i totally forgot! I've got to put this down on my calendar; such a great idea! Hope you had a sweet day and weekend, Kim!

  15. I'm really enjoying these moosewood Mondays. I've been cooking out of the books for like 20 years now. . . but somehow you get stuck on certain recipes. Now I'm inspired to try some new ones.

  16. I bet this casserole is just delicious. I really need to drag out my Moosewood books more. I made Molly Katzen's Curried Peanut Soup last week and really loved it. It's easy to forget how good the recipes are.

  17. This does sound like old-fashioned comfort Kim! I love that you added sausage! Looks incredibly good.

  18. This sounds right up my alley! Especially if it is like stuffed bell peppers.

  19. We tried this tonight and found it was a tad too flavorful for us. If I were to ever try it again, I would opt for a milder flavored cheese than feta.


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