Turkish style stuffed red peppers

Ok so I made up the Turkish style part, but I totally imagine this is exactly how a Turkish stuffed pepper would taste. Its spicy and aromatic and has rice and ground meat. Mint, parsley and harissa paste are added for good measure and this recipe was a delicious success.

Turkish style stuffed red peppers

I had quite a few peppers lying around and Mondays seem to be my day to clear the fridge. I normally do a clear-the-fridge supper and use up any odds and ends lurking in dark corners. I hate food waste so am always trying to find ways to avoid it. Things like frittatas, stir fries and pastas are my go-to for these kids of meals.

For this recipe I used ostrich mince but ground beef or lamb would be perfect too. Since discovering Gordon Ramsay’s method of browning ground meat by really taking it to its limits until the Maillard Reaction has thoroughly kicked in, I do this with all my mince dishes now. It means cooking it first in olive oil until its dried out and really golden brown. It’s the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that gives food its delicious taste and ground meat especially needs it. Once browned I then set aside and cook the onions (or any sofrito and mirepoix) and then add the mince back with the spices and seasonings.

I’ve used a blend of brown and wild rice. The brown is a sturdy grain which adds lovely nutty flavour and the wild rice good texture. I love the Pesto Princess harissa paste which is now a staple in my house so that is a little cheat and you can add as much or as little as you like depending on how hot you want it.

This is a meal in one and I would serve it with a green salad on the side or with other cooked vegetables. It would also be stunning as part of a mezze platter for a few people. I stuffed a few tomatoes because I didn’t have enough peppers in the end. You could also add a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt to have on the side.

Turkish style stuffed red peppers

Recipe – makes about 8-10 peppers depending on the size

  • 8 – 10 red, yellow or green peppers
  • 1 cup brown and wild rice blend
  • 500gm ostrich mince (beef or lamb)
  • olive oil for frying (I used a coriander infused)
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 2-3Tbsp harissa paste
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • bunch of parsley chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1tsp all spice
  • 3Tbs pine nuts
  • a few mints leaves finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup veg, chicken or beef stock

Bring 2 cups of water to the boil and then add the cup of rice. Add a pinch or two of salt. All to simmer for about 30 minutes. drain and set aside

Pre heat the oven to 180C / 350 F

Fry the ground meat in a non-stick pan with olive oil until all the water has evapourated and the meat starts to brown. Remove and set aside.

Heat another splash of olive oil and fry the onion and red pepper until softened. Add the meat back to the pan with the tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar, cumin, garlic, chilli, all spice and harissa paste. Add a half a glass of water and allow this to cook until most of the excess liquid has evapourated.

Take it off the heat and add the rice, parsley, mint and pine nuts. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves.

Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the inner seeds and pith. Fill each pepper with the mince and rice filling and place the tops back on. Put the filled peppers in an oven dish with sides, fill with half a cup of stock, cover tightly with foil and roast in the oven for an hour.

Turkish style stuffed red peppers




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  1. I have rather horrid memories of stuffed peppers from the 70s but this recipe may help me overcome my fear! I’ll give it a go! Thank you.

  2. Just made this tonight, absolutely delicious! Thank goodness for the days worth of leftovers.

  3. Sam

    Hi – sorry – its 180C / 350F. I have updated my recipe to reflect this.. Thanks Sam

  4. Bonnie O

    The flavors in this are excellent. I used ground turkey. I had leftover Basmati rice in my fridge, so I used that in the stuffing mix and also in the pan, placing the stuffed peppers on top of the rice. Once plated, I sprinkled feta cheese on top. Delicious.

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