Stuffed bell peppers, known variously as bharvan mirch (India), pimientos rellenos (Spain), and filfil mahshi (Middle East), as well as numerous other local names, make a popular dish which is served in almost all corners of the globe. While the stuffing may vary from rice and herbs in the Mediterranean to cheese, mince and egg in Mexico, we have chosen a vegetarian version of the stuffed pepper recipe in the interest of Meat Free Mondays.
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup of rice
4-5 large bell peppers
1 large onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
½ cup grated carrots
1 cup chopped zuchini
3 teaspoons of tomato paste
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper and oregano to taste
Begin by lopping off the top of the peppers and then hollowing them out. Sauté the onions lightly in oil and then add the uncooked rice. Stir the mixture briefly over a low to medium heat until the rice and onions are well combined and lightly coated in oil. Ensure that the rice doesn’t burn!
Add the boiling vegetable stock and turn down heat to allow rice to simmer. When about 1/2 of the water has evaporated and the rice is nearly cooked, add the diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano, as well as the tomato paste and zucchini. Finally add the grated carrot. When the rice is soft and the mixture is moist, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in half a cup of parmesan cheese.
Finally, stuff the hollowed-out peppers with the rice mixture and place in the oven at 180°C for about 15 minutes. Remove briefly from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and then return to oven for a further 15 minutes. The peppers should be soft and the cheese melted. The last step in the process is to eat them!