I've just figured out why I turn to Marc Bittman's How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food and The Best Recipes in the World. It's not just because the recipes always seem to work and come through for me, though that is good! It's because the odds are pretty good that I'm going to find what I'm looking for.
So, when I found these absolutely huge and gorgeous red bell peppers, I knew that I wanted to stuff them. Now, I know that I've seen stuffed peppers in many of my cookbooks and magazines, but where? Which one? With just over an hour till dinner, I didn't have time to start pulling books off the shelves. So, I went to Mark. If you can't find it those two huge tomes that I mentioned above, it probably doesn't exist.
Within minutes, I was reading a recipe for a meat filling, suitable for use in grape leaves, cabbage leaves, peppers and tomatoes. I had everything I needed (though I substituted ground beef for ground lamb). Easy peasy. It was really good, and makes me wonder why I don't stuff more veggies. They come out so pretty!
Meat Filling for Grape Leaves, Cabbage Leaves, Peppers, and Tomatoes
Enough to fill 4-6 large tomatoes or peppers, 8 or more cabbage leaves, or upt to 30 or so grape leaves
2 tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teastppon ground cinnamon
3/4 pound ground lamb (I used beef)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsely leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill leaves
zest of 1 lemon, minced
Melt the butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until it is soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and the spices, and stir until the rice is glossy, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and turn the heat to low, cook until the liquid is absorbed, this should take about 15 minutes.
Combine the rice in a bowl with the lamb (or beef), more salt and pepper, the herbs and the lemon zest.
***To stuff the peppers: Preheat the oven to 450. Cut off the tops of the peppers and scoop out the insides. Salt and pepper the cavity and then stuff with filling.
Stand the peppers up in a roasting dish, replacing their cap. Pour about 1 cup of stock and 1/4 cup of olive oil into the roasting dish. Roast for 40 minutes.