My mom used to make stuffed peppers all the time. I remember them fondly. I recall that her version was always vegetarian – and they always tasted so good. I decided to change it up a little bit and use ground lamb. I rarely eat meat, but my husband and my daughter love it. This was so delicious, however, that I actually found myself slowly savoring each and every last bite. The tomatoes, red wine and lamb together are a great combination. If you are not a meat eater, I think aduki beans would work great here. They are an under-utilized red tapioca-sized bean adapted to a large range of recipes. Likewise, you could always substitute quinoa for the rice.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper to taste
8 oz ground lamb
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes handful of fresh basil
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water or chicken broth
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup water
4 bell peppers
optional– 3 to 4 tblsp shredded cheese per pepper
For the peppers:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice the tops off the peppers. Remove the seeds and white parts from the inside of the pepper. Wash thoroughly.
- Place the peppers in an oven proof dish, season lightly with salt and bake for 20 minutes. Remove peppers and set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
For the filling:
- Cook the rice according to instructions on the package. (I used Lundberg short grain brown rice cooked in 1 cup chicken broth 1 cup water). Set aside in a large bowl.
- Open the can of tomatoes, and pulse with the handful of basil in a food processor fitted with an “S” blade 4-5 times.
- Pour tomatoes into a strainer set over a bowl and let drain (using a spatula to aid in the process) so that no juice is remaining. Discard the juice. Transfer tomatoes to the bowl with the rice.
- Place the onion in the saute pan with the olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and the salt & pepper. Cook another 3 minutes.
- Add the ground lamb and saute until there is barely any pink left – about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice/tomato mixture into the lamb mixture and stir well to combine. Pour in the wine and water and cover. Let simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Side note: If you are using cheese, mix it into the rice/tomato/lamb mixture now – before spooning into the peppers.
- Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the lamb mixture into the peppers. Bake for 25 minutes.