Sunday, 20 November 2011

Red Peppers stuffed with Rice, Raisins and Pine Nuts

We had some lovely friends visiting from London this weekend so a little get together was in order, some friends, some food, some wine... I even printed out little menus for everyone. It took a while to settle on a menu as the little blonde is a vegetarian and the Twinings hunk doesn't eat dairy... but Claudia Roden had the answers, as she often does...

A Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Caramelised Onions and Chestnuts, some Turkish Stuffed Peppers full of herby spiced rice, pine nuts and raisins and some buttery couscous with toasted almonds. Something for everyone I hoped, they looked like they enjoyed it anyway...


We started with little Leek Fritters with a herby yoghurt dip and some Cannellini Bean Hummus with Toasted Cumin and pittas to dip. It was lovely to catch up, chatting in the kitchen while I threw toasted almonds around and served food later than planned as ever...

We finished with an Apple and Cardamom Tart, which I will have to tell you about soon, because although it may be gauche to say, as I made it myself, was totally amazing. The aromatic, dusky flavours of the cardamom were lovely with the sweet sugary apple and warm buttery pastry. Delicious.

The peppers were pretty simple to make, but so full of flavour and not 70s dinner party at all... This will make 6 stuffed peppers. Start with the filling by slowly frying a large chopped onion in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, until it is soft. Then add 250g of risotto rice, I used arborio, and stir until it is coated with oil and turning translucent. Add 450ml of water, some salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Stir this well and then simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed, but the rice is still slightly undercooked.


When it is ready stir in 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, 3 tablespoons of raisins, 1 large tomato chopped into pieces, a handful of chopped mint, a handful of chopped dill, a handful of chopped parsley, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, half a teaspoon of ground allspice, the juice of a lemon and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. You can see where all the flavour comes from with this lot all hanging out together...

Now take 6 red peppers and cut a circle round the top to remove the lid and scoop out any seeds from inside. Fill the insides of the peppers with the rice mixture and pop the lids back on. Arrange them in a baking tray side by side, I had to slice a little bit off the bottom of some of the peppers to keep them steady. Pour about 1cm of water into the bottom of the tray and bake in the oven at 190°C for 50 minutes. Be careful when you take them out that the peppers don't fall apart, be very gentle...

They are lovely warm, allow them to cool a little before serving, they are also good cold with a salad and some yoghurt. The warm spices and fresh herbs are delicious with little bursts of sweet raisins and creamy pine nuts all in a sweet roasted red pepper. I've just had a little one for lunch that was leftover... I'm glad I made too many...


2 comments:

  1. YUM!! Thank YOU! I made these last night for a small New Year's Eve supper because I had (mostly) everything on hand. I didn't have fresh herbs, so substituted dried dill and parsley, and without mint I added a few generous pinches of fennel pollen and some cardamom instead. This is now my go-to stuffed pepper recipe. They were a wonderful complement to simple broiled salmon covered in organic local garlic and simple mixed vegetables, both with lots of lemon. Happy 2013!

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  2. I made the stuffed peppers according to the recipe but added 1lb of ground turkey meat and I doubled the recipe because I made 12 peppers instead of 6. I also used orange and green peppers for variety. It was terrific family loved it too!

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