Stuffed Peppers with Pine Nuts, Apricots and Mint
|Author:||Inspired by Tassajara Dinners, pg. 100|
|2 cups||uncooked, short brown rice|
|8||bell peppers, any color|
|2 tbsp.||golden raisins|
|1/4 cups||dried apricots, coarsely chopped|
|3 tbsp.||olive oil|
|1||red onion, chopped|
|3||cloves of garlic|
|2 cups||diced tomatoes|
|1||lemon, juice and zest|
|1/4 cups||pine nuts|
|3 tbsp.||chopped, flat leaf parsley|
|3 tbsp.||fresh mint leaves, chopped|
|3 tbsp.||fresh cilantro, chopped|
|1/3 cups||feta cheese, crumbled|
|3 cups||tomato sauce (optional)|
- Soak the rice for an hour or longer. Drain and rinse.
- Bring 4 cups cold water to a boil in a pot and then add the rice and a healthy pinch of salt.
- As soon as the water boils, reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 50 minutes until cooked.
- While the rice is cooking, wash and prepare the peppers: carve out the tops with stems intact and save them to later recap the peppers. Remove the white ribs and seeds within.
- In a small bowl, soak the dried fruits in boiled water for 10 minutes until softened and then drain.
- In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté onion over medium heat until translucent. Add salt, garlic, and cinnamon. When the mixture becomes aromatic, stir in the tomatoes.
- Reduce heat and add honey, cayenne pepper, lemon zest and juice. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a dry skillet, lightly roast the pine nuts until they release their natural oils and begin to turn golden brown.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, fruits, tomato mixture, herbs, cheese and pine nuts. Mix thoroughly. Taste for acidity and add more salt, cinnamon or cayenne pepper to correct the seasonings, keeping in mind the flavors will intensify when cooked. If the rice appears dry, stir in some olive oil.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Stuff each pepper to the brim with rice mixture and replace its top. Situate the peppers in a heavy-duty casserole dish suitable for the oven.
- Drizzle with olive oil. If you choose to use tomato sauce, pour it over and around the peppers so they are covered halfway. Otherwise, use water in its place to steam the peppers.
- Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the rice is heated through and the peppers are soft. Do not steam so long that the peppers lose their form.