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red Romano peppers stuffed and ready to cook in pan with white towel

Stuffed Romano Peppers

This stuffed Romano peppers recipe from the Jerusalem Cookbook is a gem from Yotam Ottolenghi’s mom, Ruth. It was my foray into stuffed peppers and hope it will be yours too!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 6
Calories 359 kcal

Equipment

  • This stuffed Romano pepper recipe from the Jerusalem Cookbook is Yotam Ottolenghi’s mom’s recipe – the obviously talented Ruth. It was my foray into stuffed peppers and am so glad I took the plunge!

Ingredients
  

  • 8 medium Romano peppers or other mild sweet peppers like Anaheim
  • 10-20 cherry tomatoes about 1 cup
  • 2 medium onions coarsely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock or a combination of both

Stuffing

  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Baharat spice mix store bought or homemade
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 14 oz ground lamb or beef or a combination
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions
 

Stuffing

  • First prepare the stuffing. You can partially pre-cook the rice as the original recipe suggests but I found, as did other members of our Tasting Jerusalem community, that you can add the rice uncooked to the filling and it will cook while the stuffed peppers are cooking. If you want to pre-cook it, put the rice in a sauce pan covered with lightly salted water, bring to a boil and let it cook for 4 minutes. Then drain and run cold water over it and set it aside.
    ingredients for stuffing in red bowl unmixed
  • Now sauté the Baharat and cardamom in the frying pan you
    will eventually place the stuffed peppers in (just trying to minimize dirty
    dishes). Ottolenghi calls this dry-frying the spices. Just heat your fry pan to
    about medium to medium high and add the spices in and mix around for 15 – 30 seconds
    to release some of the flavor.
    baharat and cardamom in pan for dry frying
  • Now add the olive oil and chopped onion and sauté until the onion is translucent and soft. Probably 7 - 10 minutes.
    onions sauteed with baharat
  • While the onion is sautéing, add the rice, meat, herbs, sugar and kosher salt to a large mixing bowl. When the onion is done, let it cool just a bit and add it to the meat mixture in the large bowl. Use your hands to mix it all together.
    stuffing for romano peppers recipe all mixed in red bowl

Prepare the peppers

  • Starting at the stalk end of the pepper, cut a slit about ¾ of the way down the pepper to create a long opening. Gently remove the seeds from the inside. Fill each pepper with approximately equal amounts of the stuffing. Hard to give an exact amount since peppers are not a standard size. Just stuff them as best you can and then add in more to each pepper to finish off the filling – ok if the stuffing bulges out a bit but don’t over pack or rip the peppers. The rice will expand a bit when it cooks.
    red and green peppers on bamboo cutting board

Cook the stuffed peppers

  • Place the remaining chopped onion in the large fry pan where the peppers will go and sauté them until they soften a bit – 5 minutes or so. The original recipe doesn’t call for this but I found it added some good flavor. Skip this step if you’d like.
  • Add the tomatoes to the pan as well. The onions and tomatoes form the base that the peppers sit on. Place the peppers on top and then add enough stock to come up about 1/8 of an inch on the peppers. Season with a bit more kosher salt and pepper if you’d like. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let it simmer for about an hour. Periodically check the amount of liquid in the pan and ensure there is always a bit there. You want these peppers to steam inside that pin.
    red and green stuffed Romano peppers in pan
  • You’ll know they are done by the color of the filling, the size of the rice and the shade of the peppers. Or cut one open and check if you feel unsure. These peppers can be served warm or at room temperature. And they are excellent leftover the next day.
    close up of red and green cooked peppers in pan

Notes

Notes
• If you don’t have fresh dill, dry will work. I tried it.
• If you don’t have dried mint, omit it or try a touch of fresh.
• I haven’t tried it without the sugar, but I bet you could omit it and the filling would be fine.
• If you don’t have Baharat spice mix, buy some or make some, it’s so good. BUT, you can use as many of these as you have around for the stuffing to approximate the flavor: nutmeg, black pepper, coriander seed, cumin seed, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, paprika, and chili. And you can flavor the meat to your liking – the basic recipe will still work.
• Can’t find Romano peppers? Substitute Anaheims or any elongated sweet, mild pepper or mix the two as I did the first time I made this recipe. Makes for a beautiful presentation.

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 14gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1010mgPotassium: 195mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 498IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Ottolenghi, Romano peppers, Stuffed peppers
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