This is spelt. It’s a dark, ancient grain that you can boil and eat like rice. It has a lovely wild and nutty flavor and is, I’m sure, rich in something that I’m not aware of. But ancient grains are good for you.

This is merguez. It’s a spicy sausage made with lamb. Yes, these particular merguez come from my butcher in la Seyne.

Last night I combined them to make a nutty, spicy, heady (think a deep red wine) stuffing to go in roasted peppers.  Ideally you could use any meat for this, but the merguez gives it an extra depth.

  • 1/2 cup dry spelt
  • vegetable broth
  • 2 merguez sausages
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 coeur de boeuf tomato (hot house?)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put spelt in a medium sauce pan with 3X as much vegetable broth (So around 1 1/2 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let simmer for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, slice the bottoms off of your peppers and clean out the insides. Set aside. Mince the bottoms of the peppers for use in the stuffing. I sliced about 1 1/2 inches off of my pepper, but they were pretty big. Also, I know normally you slice the tops off, but these peppers in particular, were not able to stand up on their own on their bottoms, but they could stand up by their tops – work with what you have.

Mince your onion and garlic. Dice your tomato. Heat olive oil in a pan and sautée the onion and pepper about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and merguez. Let the merguez cook for about 5 minutes and then take out to slice up. When you take the merguez out, add the tomato in its place and let it cook down. Dice up the merguez (which will probably still be uncooked but that’s fine) and throw back in the pan. Add your garam masala, salt, pepper.

When the spelt is done, add everything – liquid included – into the pan. Mix. Let everything simmer for another 5 minutes so the flavors blend. Then stuff your peppers. Add any remaining liquid or filling in the bottom of the pan to give the peppers a broth to baste in. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 40 minutes or until peppers are soft.

They’re a nice twist on simple stuffed vegetables, hearty and easy to make. A delightful, healthful meal that is not too spicy but has a little kick.

In Dumpling-Pistou news: Dumpling has a mouth problem, we think it’s either infected gums or rotten teeth. But the people from the refuge are afraid to take her away because she doesn’t eat when she gets upset and she’s already too, too thin. Who would have thought there’d be someone too thin in this house.

Pistou however, walks up to her when she’s sleeping in order to sniff and inspect. He’s still in shock, but he is also currently crying in the bathroom – a return to his bizarre drama queen ways…