Once I settle into November, I start thinking about Thanksgiving. Without question, my favorite dish served as part of a Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing. So as a tribute to stuffing, I plan to post a “stuffed” recipe each Sunday this month. First up: peppers.
I know stuffed peppers are not the most original dish, but they are the first stuffed dish I recall eating. My mom used to serve stuffed peppers for dinner, and I loved them. I’ll admit I liked to eat the rice stuffing much more than I liked to eat the pepper, but I made sure to eat as much of the pepper as I could.
Mom’s stuffed peppers were filled with a mixture of ground beef, tomato sauce and rice. These Middle Eastern Stuffed Peppers are a twist on that recipe. They too are stuffed with a mix of ground meat, tomato sauce and rice, but the stuffing also includes green olives and golden raisins. Yes, I wrote green olives and raisins. I probably just lost a lot of you.
Olives and raisins are two foods that seem to have pretty strong followings. You either love them or you leave them. I love olives of all sorts. I am less thrilled about raisins, but I can tolerate them. Surprisingly, the two foods pair wonderfully together in this dish. The olives provide a salty bite, and the raisins meld together with the filling so you really don’t even know you are eating them.
Combine them with the meat seasoned with cinnamon and cumin (I know it sounds like another strange pair, but stick with me because we’re almost there), tomato sauce, and rice, and you have a stuffed pepper you won’t soon forget. Enjoy the week, and tune in next week for another Stuffed next Sunday!
- 4 bell peppers
- ½ pound ground beef or turkey
- ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 – 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- ¼ cup sliced green olives
- Halve the peppers and clean the insides of the remaining core and seeds.
- Place the peppers in a baking dish, cut sides facing up.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat with the garlic, cinnamon, and cumin.
- Add the tomato sauce and raisins and continue to cook until the mixture is hot all the way through, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the meat mixture from the heat and stir in the rice and sliced olives.
- Scoop equal amounts of the meat and rice mixture into each pepper.
- Bake at 400 degrees until the peppers are soft, approximately 25 minutes.
- If desired, garnish with Feta cheese or a shredded cheese of choice.