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Friday, September 2, 2016

Stuffed Red Peppers

We decided to make stuffed peppers of various kinds because there are just so many of them this time of year.  This is an Ottolenghi recipe originally made with Romano peppers, but it can be made with sweet bell peppers as well.  This is a steamed dish rather than the more traditional baked dish, so if you seek something moister, this is a good approach.  If on the hand you like the more dried out version, then you can follow the filling recipe but cook it without the stock and open.

8 large Romano peppers or 4 red peppers.

600g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 large cloves garlic finely chopped
A generous sprig of fresh lemon thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup stock
100g basmati rice
500g minced lamb or beef or a combination of the two
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons baharat
1 tomato skinned, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons sea salt
Generous grinding black pepper
Peel and chop the tomatoes for the sauce. Set one tomato aside for the stuffing.
Heat the olive oil and tomatoes in a heavy lidded pan that will fit the peppers in one layer, add the, garlic, lemon thyme and stock then season generously with sea salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Boil the rice in salted water for 5 mins.
Drain the rice, refresh under cold water and set aside to cool.
Roast the baharat in a dry pan until the spices are toasty brown and fragrant.
In a large bowl weigh and measure all the other ingredients, add the rice and baharat, then using clean hands knead the meat, herbs, spices, tomato, rice and seasonings until the mixture is very well mixed.
Wash the peppers, then assess how each naturally sits and cut a slit from the stem end down, along the top edge.
Using your fingers, carefully remove the core, seeds and soft membranes. Shake any loose seeds out of the inside.
Gently fill the pepper cavities.
Arrange the peppers in a single layer in the sauce, then spoon a tablespoon of sauce into each pepper.
Return the sauce to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes, basting the peppers with sauce frequently.
Remove the peppers to a serving plate and keep warm.
Turn the heat to high under the sauce and reduce until thickened. Spoon the sauce over the peppers and serve with a simple salad.

1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 small cinnamon stick, roughly chopped
½ tsp whole cloves
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
½ a whole nutmeg, grated 

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