Stuffed Peppers

Traditionally Greek
Stuffed peppers are called γεμιστές πιπεριές in Greek, these are basically any colored peppers filled with rice, meat, and sometimes maybe even some spinach too! This delightful dish is usually baked in the oven (rarely they are fried) and surrounded by potatoes which cook ever so tenderly along side of the main dish. Top them all off with some crumbled feta and a few olives, and you are ready to serve an impressive and satisfying meal for everyone!

Stuffed Peppers Recipe
5-6 large bell peppers, tops removed and seeded or long peppers, sliced in the middle and seeded
4-5 T. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 kilo minced meat or mushrooms 
1-2 onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. Greek oregano
1 T. mint
1 small bunch fresh parseley, chopped
1 T. tomato paste or 3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 large tomato, chopped
Handful of frozen spinach, optional
1 cup rice
3-4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place peppers in baking dish with a drizzle of oil and water and bake until tender.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place meat (or mushrooms) and onions in the skillet, cook until brown; then, add dry rice stirring to coat well. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and mint, and fresh tomato, cook 5 minutes. Mix in tomato puree and 1 1/2 cups hot water. Continue cooking 10-15 minutes, and add more water if needed to make rice just tender. If adding spinach, add about 5 minutes before rice is al dente. The mixture should be wet, but not runny.
3. Stuff peppers with the mixture, and arrange in a baking dish. Add potatoes and drizzle with olive oil, then add enough hot water to reach half way up the peppers. Cover with aluminum foil or baking top.
4. Bake 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove foil or top, and continue baking 10 minutes, until stuffing is tender and lightly browned. Best served with feta and olives to garnish.

This was one of the first Greek meals that I ate and tried to make myself, it is a classic dish that can be easily prepared for just a couple or as many as a dinner party! The typical recipe calls to add pine nuts and maybe even raisins, but after making this a few times, I prefer this recipe. I’ve even gotten the two thumbs up from my personal Greek critic, and although he always prefers meat or mushrooms over spinach, he enjoyed this variation. Hope you enjoy this Greek recipe from my house to yours. 
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