|A sprig of lovage on the top of stuffed peppers|
After a week of traveling and eating out I am back to cooking. A home made meal, a cup of a warm soup on a chilly night and a few out of the oven peppers are a must upon our return. If we were coming to my parent's home, that's what my mother would have made for us. It's her signature "Welcome" dish (see the second photo from the top on the linked page) for many-many guests in our home.
My Mother's Stuffed PeppersIngredients:
8-9 bell peppers, washed and seeds removed
1 cup rice
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup buckwheat
2-3 carrots, shredded
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup smashed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh lovage
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tablespoons sunflower oil (or any other oil of your choice)
Gluten Free option: skip the barley and add a whole cup of buckwheat.
For Meat lovers: when mixing grains and tomato/carrots/onions mixture add 300 grams (a little over half a pound) grinded meat of your choice. Then you will need to adjust seasoning and use 3-4 more peppers.
Pre-heat oven to 400F / 200C
1. Wash and pre-soak rice and buckwheat in hot water for 20-25 minutes.
2. Wash and pre-cook barley (bring it to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes).
3. On a high heat pre-heat oil in a large skillet, turn it to medium-high and add onions. Sprinkle with salt and stir for about 3-4 minute (until onions become translucent).
4. Add carrots, and stir for another 3 minutes.
5. Add 1 cup smashed tomatoes and sugar, and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring a few times (it may burn very quickly, don't leave the kitchen, stir!)
6. Drain all grains and combine in a large bowl.
7. Add the tomato/onion/carrot mixture to the grains and mix well.
8. Add 1 teaspoon salt and grind some pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon). Add chopped lovage, dill, and mix again.
9. Fill all peppers. To make it easier, I place peppers in the Dutch oven and then fill it.
10. Pour 2 cups tomato juice, 2 cups water (or vegetable stock), and a teaspoon of salt over stuffed peppers.
11. Cover and bake on the middle rack for 60-70 minutes. Then take the lid off and check grains for doneness. It may need another 10-15 minute in the oven (depends what rice you use and how you oven bakes).
12. Serve stuffed peppers with some cooking juice and sour cream (optional).
|Aroma of baked peppers perfumed my kitchen... |
Can you smell it?