Friday, August 28, 2009

Healthy Recipe Friday - Stuffed Peppers with Tomato Sauce

This Greek dish represents the principles of Mediterranean food, the main component being vegetables, made substantial with a rice and lamb filling.

8 small green peppers, tops sliced off, cored, and seeded
1/3 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 TBSP red wine
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP tomato paste
3 lb. plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 fresh bay leaf
salt and black pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb. ground lamb
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup long-grain rice, rinsed and drained. ( I use brown rice or wild rice)

1-Bring a pan of water to boil and cook the peppers and tops for 5 min. Drain and set aside.
2-To make the sauce, heat half the oil and add half the onion and garlic. Stew gently for 10 min., until the onion is soft. Add the wine, honey and tomato paste. Let simmer 1 min.
3- Add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf and seasonings. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 min., until the sauce is thick.
4-Strain the sauce through a sieve and set aside. Heat the stock to the boiling point.
5- To make the filling, warm the rest of the oil and add the remaining onion and garlic. Cook gently for 10 min., until the onions is soft. Turn up the heat and add the lamb, ground spices, and seasonings. Cook for 5 min. , stirring, to brown meat.
6- Add the rice to the lamb mixture. Stir well, then pour over the boiling stock. Cook over gentle heat for 15 min., until all the liquid has been absorbed and small holes appear in the surface.
7- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture and replace their tops. Pack them into a dish and pour over the sauce. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool before serving - this dish is best made a day in advance.

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