I originally created this menu after an inspiring trip to Marfa where we enjoyed the most incredible meal at Capri Marfa, owned by the creative and talented couple Virgina and chef Rocky Barnett. We sat on serape-lined benches near the fire, directly across from the kitchen. The kitchen felt almost like a monk’s den, incense burning at an altar, Rocky and his quiet kitchen team moving ever so skillfully and deliberately, like a poetic movement meditation dance. My rendition never tastes quite like Rocky's did that night, but it always brings those beautiful memories back to mind.
6-8 ancho chilies (you can also use golden or red bell peppers)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 golden raisins, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water to plump up, then strained
zest of 1 orange plus 1/4 cup juice
1 whole egg
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons ceylon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon Peperoncini & Pimenton salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 Jar Golden Pepper Pesto
1 jar Sweet Pepper Pesto
3/4 cup chicken, bone or vegetable broth
1 cup strained ancho chili liquid
PREPARATION: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
If using dried ancho chiles, soak the chiles in hot water and rest until soft, about 2-3 hours. Gently make a slit in the peppers and remove the seeds. If using bell peppers, slice 1/4 inch off the top of the pepper crosswise, keeping the stem intact. This will be the “cover” of the pepper. Remove the seeds and the white veins. Set aside until ready to stuff with the quinoa mixture.
In a saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and add the chopped onions. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7-10 minutes Add the chopped garlic and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes, until the onions are sweet and almost caramelized.
In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked onion mixture, quinoa, golden raisins, zest and juice of orange, egg, cilantro, cinnamon, salt, pepper and golden pepper pesto. Mix until well combined. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa mixture.
In an ovenproof casserole dish or pan, add the sweet pepper pesto, broth and strained liquid (or additional amount of broth) and whisk together. Place the stuffed peppers on top. Cook, covered with a lid or tinfoil, for about 30-35 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook for an additional 10-12 minutes.