Guys. It says Lebenese STYLE stuffed peppers. Stuffed peppers inspired by the flavors of Lebanon. I know they’re not legit. But they ARE legitimately good. So don’t @ me.
Ok so, if you haven’t already seen the big batch bolognese recipe, go check that out because this recipe uses that one.
And speaking of this recipe…
There’s this lebanese restaurant in Pittsburgh called Kassab’s and I love that place so damn much. One of the things I love the most is the cinnamon and mint-scented tomato sauce that they serve with their kofte and other things.
I wanted that taste, but in a meaty meat sauce. Hence, this recipe. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to manage the flavor shift from general Italian to spicy-sweet-sour middle eastern. But boy howdy does it ever work.
I think the secret is frying the spices in the oil and THEN adding the sauce. It ensures that the flavors really permiate the sauce all the way through. It’s like an effing magic trick- the sauce TASTES like it was absolutely made for this dish.
I love it when food works.
And the filling! Don’t even get me started. It’s mild and creamy and rich; the perfect accompaniment to the picante, cinnamon-y cumin-y sauce. So, so good.
This recipe is one of the first I have sort of just come up out of my own head with and it is an unqualified success, if I do say so myself, and I do. And it’s quick and it’s easy.
I am SO DAMN EXCITED about this one. So, here’s how it goes!
Lebanese Style Stuffed Peppers RecipeCourse: MainCuisine: Labanese, Middle EasternDifficulty: Easy
6 bell peppers, any color
1 cup cooked rice
8 oz queso fresco (a common substitute for hard-to-find middle eastern cheeses
1 large bunch parsley, coarsely chopped, divided
1 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp room temperature butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 g. fresh mint leaves or 2 tsp dried.
2 cups big batch bolognese sauce
Juice of 2 lemons, divided
1 tbsp sugar
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Farrenheit
- With your knife at an angle, cut a circle around the stem of the pepper and remove. Shave off any seeds, and clean he pepper. Reserve the pepper top as a lid for baking. Set peppers aside.
- In a bowl, combine rice, the queso fresca, half the chopped parsley, toasted pine nuts and butter in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine
- Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture all the way to the top. I like to pack them pretty firmly and you should have plenty of filling. Replace pepper tops and put peppers in a casserole or roasting pan. Put in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- While the peppers are baking, heat oil in a saucier over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the cinnamon, cumin, and mint and stir to coat. Let it fry until it becomes fragrant, being careful not to burn.
- Pour in the bolognese sauce and heat through, stirring at the end to thoroughly combine the oil and the meat sauce. Once it comes up to a boil, it should blend together smoothly so there is no oil slick on top. This may take a bit of stirring.
- Decant the sauce into a bowl or gravy boat and serve alongside the piping hot peppers, right out of the oven. I like to slice the peppers in half and drench both halves and all the filling with a generous spoon-full of sauce.
It could literally not be any easier. This dish is a winner, and it definitely help highlight the flexibility of your amazing big batch of bolognese. So make it and stuff it in your facehole! You’re welcome.