Stuffed Peppers

I always use red and yellow peppers for this dish. I think they are much tastier than green peppers, and their natural sweetness lends a wonderful flavor to the dish. It is recommended to use smaller peppers rather than huge ones, so that they don’t break apart after cooking.

After making the rice filling, and before stuffing the peppers, it is important to make sure that you have put in enough salt, lemon or vinegar, etc. Since the rice is as yet uncooked, and you wouldn’t want to eat that for the purpose of tasting, just swipe your finger on the bottom of the pan, and take a taste; that should give you an indication if any adjustment is needed, before you fill the peppers and cook.

Same goes for the tomato-paste-sauce; do taste it before cooking, to make sure it is tasty, salty enough, lemony enough, etc.

These are best made several hours before serving; they keep very well for a few days in the refrigerator, in a covered pot or box.

It is important to find a pot which is just the right size for the amount of peppers you want to make – the peppers should stand snugly one next to the other, so that they don’t fall sideways during cooking.

When cooking is finished, let stand for a while in pot, and then, when removing to serving dish, do it very carefully with two very large spoons.

This recipe DOES NOT CONTAIN MEAT.

Ingredients:

  • red and yellow peppers, according to how many you want to make
  • Basmati rice (or any other regular rice) – you will need approximately 2 large Tablespoons per pepper
  • canola oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • lots of celery leaves, washed and roughly chopped – part of it for the rice filling, part of it for the sauce
  • 2-3 Tablespoons plain vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • tomato paste (amount depends on how many peppers you are making and how big the pot is
  • water
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar for sauce

Preparation:

  1. Choose red and yellow peppers that are NOT TOO LARGE, and make sure that they fit snugly into the pot you are going to use; it is advisable to use a pot that is not too deep, but if you don’t have one, it’s ok to use a regular deep pot, although maybe a bit more difficult to remove cooked peppers at the end of cooking. But do make sure they sit snugly in the pot with no room to move around.
  2. Wash and then slice off the top – save the top, because after filling the peppers, you will need to put the “cap” back on.
  3. Make filling: Into a strainer put the rice you have measured out (approx. 2 large Tablespoons per pepper), rinse in cold water, and strain till dry.
  4. In pan or pot, place a few spoonfuls of Canola oil, add the diced onion, fry briefly just to coat the onion with the oil. Add the rice, the diced tomato, a bunch of chopped celery leaves, salt, pepper, some vinegar and/or some lemon juice.
  5. Mix and taste from the bottom of the pan, to make sure it is salty enough and lemony enough.
  6. Fill the peppers with the filling, and place SNUGLY in the pot you have chosen. TIP: if, after you stand them in the pot, you see that they are not standing snugly enough, and you don’t have any more peppers to fill, then you can always peel a large onion, and stick it in between the peppers, to take up that empty space.
  7. Place the reserved pepper caps on the peppers.
  8. In bowl, make the sauce; put in a few little cans of tomato paste, add water to make a smooth liquid – it should be liquidy enough for the peppers to cook in. There should be enough to ALMOST cover the stuffed peppers in the pot. Add a splash of vinegar and/or lemon juice, some of the roughly chopped celery leaves, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of sugar, and and 1-2 Tablespoons canola oil. Mix in bowl, TASTE, and adjust seasoning; it should have a nice touch of tartness from the lemon and/or vinegar, and it should be salty enough.
  9. Pour sauce carefully over the peppers in the pot. Place on stove to cook; bring it to a boil, and lower the flame to simmer gently until the rice inside the peppers is cooked through; this can take about 40-45 minutes, but check already after half an hour. If you see that the rice is still not cooked, take some of the simmering sauce from the pot, take off the caps from the peppers, and spoon some of the hot sauce over the rice filling. Return caps to the peppers, and continue cooking till ready. Thepeppers should be soft but not TOO soft, because you don’t want them bursting into pieces when you remove them from the pot. Usually I taste the sauce again once during the cooking process to make sure it is just the right flavor that I want.
  10. When ready, leave in pot to rest for a while.
  11. When ready to serve, or if you want to store in refrigerator in glass or plastic box, CAREFULLY remove peppers from pot using two large serving spoons, and remove.
  12. Enjoy!

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