The Turkish tradition of juicy stuffed roasted vegetables inspired us to create this seasonal celebration of peppers and herbs. Smaller, more squat peppers work better than tall, huge ones. It's also great made with large fresh pimientos, if you find them. Serve the dish hot or at room temperature. Wine pairing: Domaine Anderson Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley).
6 to 8 small to medium bell peppers (preferably mixed colors; 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 lbs. total)
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup chopped ripe tomato
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°. Slice caps from bell peppers 1/2 to 1 in. from stems and save caps. Pull out seeds and membranes from peppers and discard, or scrape out with a small spoon. If needed, cut a paper-thin slice from bottoms of peppers (without cutting holes in them) to help peppers stand flat.
Set aside 1 tsp. garlic. Put remaining garlic, the onion, and 2 tbsp. oil in a 12-in. cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/4 tsp. salt, the black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and rice. Cook, stirring, until rice is opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup water and cook at a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and repeat cooking until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add tomato and cook until it's softened, about 3 minutes; mixture should be somewhat soupy.
Scrape rice mixture into a large bowl. Stir in lamb, pine nuts, mint, dill, and parsley until lamb is evenly distributed. Wipe skillet clean.
Spoon lamb mixture into peppers, pushing down into cavities, to about 1/4 in. from tops*, and set peppers upright in skillet. Set pepper caps in place. Drizzle peppers with 2 tbsp. oil. Pour 1 cup water into bottom of skillet and add bay leaves.
Bake peppers, basting every 20 minutes or so with pan juices, until peppers are well browned, about 1 hour and 10 minutes; if some brown faster than others, tent with foil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt and remaining 1 tsp. garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt; chill until used.
Spoon pan juices over peppers and scatter more mint on top. Swirl remaining 1 tbsp. oil into yogurt sauce and serve with peppers.
*Microwave any leftover filling in a small dish with about 1/4 cup water, loosely covered and stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes, then enjoy on its own.
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