Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stuffed Peppers, Turkish Style

Well, tonight I finally decided to make stuffed peppers with the beautiful peppers we picked up last week.  I decided to make Turkish style stuffed peppers...known as Biber Dolmasi in Turkish, more commonly known as dolmas.  Turkey and the Middle East (as well as many other parts of the world) are known for stuffing lots of different vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cabbage, grape name it, they stuff it.  There are so many different recipes for stuffed peppers.  I reviewed literally dozens of recipes and put together one that was authentic and that contained fresh ingredients that we prefer.  I chose to use red, yellow and orange bell peppers since they are sweeter and not as strong tasting as green peppers (hubby isn't a fan of green peppers).  This is strictly a personal preference, you can use whatever type of pepper you like best.

I must admit that one thing I would do differently is to make this dish on a weekend as opposed to making it on a weeknight after work.  Even though it was fairly easy to put together, because it contained all fresh herbs and other ingredients, it is more time consuming cleaning and removing stems from the various fresh herbs and chopping everything.  It is 8:00 p.m. and the stuffed peppers won't be ready before 8:30 which is VERY late for us to be eating dinner...but we will enjoy it, nevertheless.  We will just have to stay up until midnight so we don't go to bed right after eating -- it's a good thing tomorrow is Friday! 

I've posted the recipe I used below as well as some photos.  I wish you could see and smell how beautiful all the colors and fresh aromas are from the fresh herbs and vegetables.  They are absolutely gorgeous. 

The main ingredients...beautiful colors, courtesy of Mother Nature
Stuffed and ready to begin cooking (take a peek inside before I put the last lid on)
Olive oil and broth added...the cooking is about to begin
45 minutes later and they are ready to be devoured
Aren't they beautiful?  Like a rainbow on a platter...
My yellow beauty
His red beauty
(You knew it was coming...)


Turkish Style Stuffed Peppers


5 large bell peppers (green, red, yellow, orange or you favorite color)
1 pound lean ground beef or lamb (I used ground sirloin)
1 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
3-4 ripe tomatoes, chopped (you could also use drained diced canned tomatoes)
1/2 cup white rice, uncooked
1 medium-large onion, finely diced (I sauteed mine, but you don't have to)
Juice from 1 lemon
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, pinch (or to taste)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups water or broth (I used vegetable broth)


Carefully cut the tops off of your peppers (reserve lids to put back on later).  Remove the seeds and membranes and set aside while you make the stuffing.  If you decide to cook your onion before adding it to your stuffing, saute in a small amount of olive oil until translucent before adding to the stuffing mixture.

In a large bowl, add your ground beef or lamb, uncooked rice, diced onion (raw or cooked depending on preference), tomatoes, parsley, mint, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper(s).  Mix thoroughly until well combined.  Divide your mixture up evenly and stuff your peppers and place in a pot big or small enough for the peppers to stand upright without falling over.  Replace their "tops".  Pour the olive oil over the top of the closed peppers, and add broth or water to the pot.  Cover pot and bring peppers to a boil and high heat, immediately reducing to low-medium heat and simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or until the rice is done.  Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

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