The challenge: To cook all 115 recipes from the Thug Kitchen cookbook within 365 days. 66 recipes down, 49 to to go. 124 days left of the challenge.
This time we tried the barley stuffed peppers. I had a random jar of barley hanging out in the back of the food cupboard with this recipe’s name on it.
I’d really been looking forward to trying this recipe, until I saw that there was celery in it. I’m not a big fan of celery-especially if it’s cooked. The smell is just…blargh. It makes me….just…blargh. Once that stinky son-of-a-bitch started cooking up with some herbs, and the kitchen started filling with food smells, I started having my doubts about cooking this recipe. At all. As I toyed with the idea of ordering take out, I threw in the tomatoes, broth and vinegar. Straight away that changed the ambience and smell of the kitchen. The celery’s scent, rather than being warm and pungent, once combined with the herbs and vinegar, transformed the meal to something yummy and Italian. I re-reconsidered and preheated the oven to 375 degrees farenheit, which, my European friends, is also 190 degrees celsius. You’re fucking welcome.
Look at those colours!
While the barley was simmering on the stove, I lubed up a loaf tin so it would be good to go once the barley was done. When slathering anything in oil like this, it is obligatory to make weird sexual faces at people passing by your kitchen window. The weird looks you get from passersby is just part of the fun. Try it next time, I dare you. I bet you end up laughing.
Don’t take life so seriously! Have some fun in your kitchen-Get out the oils and lube up like you’ve never lubed before!
Once the barley was done, I folded in the beans and got the peppers ready for stuffing. The bean mix didn’t look colourful any more at this point, but it had soaked up loads of broth and it still smelled really good. Even better than before.
Once again, I encourage you to have some fun in the kitchen. Show those peppers a good time. Stuff ’em real good! Don’t be afraid to go deep, really impregnate those fuckers with flavour!
Once I’d finished fisting the peppers, I wrapped them tightly in foil. Here’s how they looked before they went in the oven. When I covered them with foil I found myself wondering if I was meant to wrap them individually. But this seemed to work okay, and hey, the Thugs weren’t exactly around to ask. (I still think we need some sort of Thug Kitchen help line you can ring when you have queries or kitchen fuck ups). After all the stuffing I was quite spent, so it was nice to have 45 minutes to chill out in.
After 45 minutes in the oven these succulent bastards came out fiiiine. Tasty as hell. They could easily have handled another 15 mins in the oven though, like the Thugs had suggested, but I was just too hungry to wait. (All that stuffing had worked up my appetite- You know what I’m sayin’?!?) So because there was left over filling I made them again two days later, and this time I gave them the full hour and they were good. Even better than the first time around. So I definitely recommend longer in the oven. Really roast those bad boys up.
Although the recipe says it makes 4 stuffed peppers, I ended up making 6 in total across two meals, and still had extra filling leftover (which sadly never got used because I forgot it was in the fridge. It got pushed to the back, and then the jars of jalapenos and random condiments conspired to block the view from fridge-outsiders.)
This was a great recipe, and a perfect one for making in advance if you’re having guests. You can make the filling in advance, and then pop them in the oven when the guests arrive. You could even engage the guests in the lubing of the loaf pan if you think it’s an appropriate dinner guest activity. Some guests need more entertaining than others and this might be just the way to do that. Probably best to play that one by ear though. Read the mood at the time.
The other option is, if they are guests you don’t really care for, you could plonk them down in front of the oven once the peppers go in, and tell them to let you know when the peppers look done. Then you can open that fancy bottle of wine they brought and go drink it by yourself in the living room. They feel involved, and you get drunk. Seems like a win-win to me.