Peppers With Lamb And Rice Stuffing flavored with aromatic spices and fresh herbs may bring back memories of a treasured recipe your family has passed down from one generation to the next. With stuffed vegetables being found in many ethnic cuisines, you may have had something similar at restaurant in your neighborhood or while traveling in exotic regions of the world.
Many different versions of my recipe can be found throughout countries bordering the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The spicy rice and lamb stuffing may remind you of the flavors found in Morocco, Turkey or Tunisia with its fragrant spices of cinnamon and cumin along with the heat coming from Harissa. What it is NOT is what you may have been served at a typical American diner. A bland green bell pepper stuffed with ground beef, covered with canned tomato sauce and then baked until the pepper is mush and the beef is hard and dry has given stuffed peppers a bad name.
You can see that I served my stuffed peppers with oven roasted tomatoes and I suggest you do so as well. The juices of the tomatoes roasted with fresh mint, oregano and drizzled with olive oil mingle with the stuffing once the two vegetables have been sliced opened. The flavors are a match made in heaven. If you decide to roast the tomatoes, you can prepare and roast them first and then place the peppers in the same roasting dish to bake while the tomatoes are resting.
Peppers With A Lamb And Rice Stuffing
Recipe serves four, adjust accordingly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- 3/4 to 1 lb. of ground lamb
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 c. cooked rice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 3 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. flat leafed parsley, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Harissa* or to taste (I suggest adding the Harissa 1 tsp. at a time until you get the spicy heat you like, I used 3 tsp. as I like spicy food)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 yellow or red peppers, tops sliced off and saved, seeds and membranes removed, par cooked (I microwaved the peppers for 3 minutes until they just had a little give)
- A couple Tbsp. each of olive oil and white wine added to casserole dish before baking
*Harissa is a hot North African condiment often used as a rub, in curries and stews. The fiery paste is made from hot red chilies, oil, garlic and spices. It can be found in cans, jars and tubes in most food markets. If unable to find, you could substitute the paste with Sriracha but the flavor will be a little different.
Add the lamb to a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until brown and just cooked through. Remove lamb with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl, drain lamb fat from the skillet and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent then add the garlic, cook for one minute and then add to the bowl with the lamb. Add the cooked rice to the lamb and onion mixture and combine. Add the remaining ingredients except the peppers and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Divide the mixture between the peppers and cover with the pepper tops. Place the peppers in small casserole dish where they will fix snugly. Add a little olive oil and white wine to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. Bake the peppers until the stuffing is heated through and they have just started to get a little brown, about 30 minutes. Plate the peppers and spoon any accumulated juices over the peppers.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Wash tomatoes and dry. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and reserve. Place tomatoes and tops in a casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and chopped mint and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 350 oven until soft. Remove from the oven and let rest. The tomatoes are good warm or at room temperature. Just before serving you might want to drizzle with a little olive oil and some additional fresh mint.
If serving the roasted tomatoes with the stuffed peppers, mash the roasted tomato tops and add them to the lamb and rice mixture.
The peppers with lamb and rice stuffing are a flavorful and aromatic dish that I believe you will enjoy. Some people don’t care for lamb and if you are one of them, you can substitute ground beef or pork in this dish. You can also prepare a vegetarian version just using rice, perhaps adding some raisins or chopped apricots. For a little crunch, you might want to add some toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds.