Please enjoy another cool recipe by NK Teammember Dria Peterson who lives and cooks in a vegetarian village in Israel!
One day I found a small book of Jewish Indian cooking. The book wasn’t written very well, and trying to figure out what the author meant was a challenge. One of the recipes was for stuffed vegetables. I have been making this recipe for years now, on every special occasion and sometimes every week with no special reason. My daughters and husband love them (In fact I made them for him on our third date).
Over the years I have changed the original recipe completely and made it Quick, easy and flop-proof!
At one period of time, my second daughter was home with me, without her elder sister, every Wednesday. She was about 2.5 and interested in cooking. Making these stuffed Peppers became our weekly activity. I used to call her “My Sou Chef”. She now makes the stuffed peppers all on her own. I only need to supply the stuffing mix 🙂
And now I share it with you, after measuring what I do, so I can write it down properly. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do.
What you need to make this recipe:
Large Pan (I use either a deep saucepan or stock pot and stack the peppers in two layers, or use a wide shallow pan called a Sauteuse – like in the photos).
- 8-12 bell peppers (The number depends on the size of the pan you will use and the size of the peppers you have). You can measure how many peppers fit into the pan before cutting them.
- 2 cups of brown rice (I use round rice)
- 3 large tomatoes or 6 small tomatoes
- Big bunch of herbs and greens (I use whatever I have in the garden – Celery, Parsley, Coriander, Chard, Green Onions, etc.)
- 1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
- 4 large cloves of garlic
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Leaves from a cabbage or grape vine, to cover the bottom of the pan and prevent the peppers from burning. My daughters love eating the cabbage leaves from the bottom of the pan.
*other possibilities are to substitute some of the rice with lentils or mung beans, or add chopped almonds)*
Cook the rice with 4 cups of water. First bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Cook for about 30 minutes. Cooking the rice before hand is not the usual way to make stuffed vegetables, but this way you will not have “uncooked rice problems”, cooking is about half the time, saves energy and create an edible leftover stuffing.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the stuffing and get the peppers ready for stuffing:
Wash peppers, cut tops off and take the seeds out.
* These two steps can be made in advance*
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Spread it all over with a brush.
Cover the bottom of the pan with leaves.
Put the greens, tomatoes and garlic in the food processor and chop. Pour into a large mixing bowl, big enough to mix in the rice later.
If you are using raisins chop them a little with a knife or pulse them gently in the food processor. The purpose is not to leave the raisins whole so they won’t swell up. Place the raisins in the mixing bowl.
When the rice is cooked, add it to the chopped greens mixture. Add the 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice and the salt.
Now, Taste the stuffing. It should be delicious. If not, add more olive oil, lemon, salt or tomatoes till the stuffing is tasty.
Now it’s stuffing time! Fill the peppers up to the top (no need to leave space as in uncooked rice stuffing) and cover with the pepper lid.
The kids (or grownups) can eat the leftover stuffing.
Pour 3 cups of water into the pan. The water should only create a 1 inch puddle on the bottom of the pan.
Bring the water in the pan to a boil (you can hear when it’s boiling). Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 40 min – 1 hour. Listen to the pan to hear the liquid bubbling so you know there is enough water in the pan, otherwise the peppers might burn. Usually at the end of cooking there is more liquid in the pan than what you first poured in.
The peppers are yummy when hot but also when cold and even after a few days in the refrigerator. You can reheat them in the same pan with their liquid still in the pan. When we eat them cold we usually cut the pepper and pour some olive oil over it and add a squeeze lemon. A soft cheese like a sour Labaneh or yogurt also goes well with the stuffed peppers.