Food
GREEK-STYLE STUFFED PEPPERS

##I feel another rant coming on this month. Instead of watching telly from now on, we’ll spend our evenings baking, cooking, dining out, conversing… LIVING. And if we really need a night on the sofa we can get a DVD! Now, normally I would say, life is too short to stuff anything but there is plenty of time in the day, or night, to stuff anything; mushrooms, peppers, oysters, chillies, you name it! So, stuff yourselves with some of these – they’re amazing!

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

500gm beef or lamb mince
1 whole red pepper per person, cut off the lid and carefully hollow out
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Few sprigs of fresh thyme – if using beef
Few sprigs fresh mint – if using lamb
1 cup cooked rice
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 litre of beef, lamb or vegetable stock

First up, brown the mince off in a large frying pan, make sure it’s not straight from the fridge and therefore too cold, and do it in batches if it’s too much for the pan in one go. You will have to keep at it when you’re browning mince. Keep poking it apart with a wooden spoon, or you will end up with big hard lumps of it. Sorry, it’s just the way it is. After the mince has browned, set it aside in a big bowl and put the leek, onion, celery and garlic in the pan and sweat it slowly until it’s softened, about 6 or 7 minutes. Add the finely chopped fresh herbs to this and then stir this altogether with the mince and add the cooked rice. Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC.

Into the pan, now add the tomato puree and fry it off gently to remove its bitterness and then add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer this gently to reduce it a little while you prepare the peppers.

Arrange the bottom halves of the cut peppers in a saucepan or dish that can go in the oven and that will fit the peppers snugly. Fill each with as much mince mix as you can and then top each with their lid. Pour the stock mixture around the peppers and put the pan into the hot oven. Bake them until the skin of the peppers is starting to brown and has become wrinkly. Approximately 25-30 minutes.

Serve immediately. You can of course eat them as it is…or you can serve them with a salad of your choice. My own choice tends to be a “fettucini” salad of courgette and carrot, with sultanas and green pepitas (pumpkin seeds) scattered through it. Just use a vegetable peeler to peel the courgette and carrots into wide strips. Dress with a little olive or walnut oil and a vinegar of your liking.

Now, turn the bleeding TV off and get living!

Besos y buen provecho!

Erica Choate

Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’

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