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Stuffed peppers

Turks are big fanciers of stuffed vegetables, and there is no vegetable that begs more to be stuffed than bell pepper. This meze is called zeytinhagli biber dolmasi and is one of the foods in Turkish cuisine known as “olive oil foods.”
Adapted from Little Foods of the Mediterranean by Clifford A. Wright



•  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

•  1 ¾ pounds onions, finely chopped

•  1 ½ teaspoons salt

•  ½ cup raw long-grain rice, rinsed well or soaked for 30 minutes and drained

•  1 cup water

•  1 ripe tomato, seeds, grated against large holes, and skin discarded 

•  2 tablespoons dried currants

•  1 tablespoon pine nuts

•  ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

•  ½ teaspoon freshly ground allspice berries

•  ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

•  1 teaspoon sugar

•  Leaves from ½ bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

•  Leaves from 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped


•  4 medium-size red, yellow or orange bell peppers (about 2 ¼ pounds)

•  1 cup water

•  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

•  Salt



Make the stuffing.  

  1. In a large skillet, cook the onions in oil with 1 teaspoon of the salt until yellow, about 15 minutes.  Add the rice and cook until the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the skillet and is browning, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring.  

  2. Add the water, tomato, currants, pine nuts, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the mint, and dill; reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.  Turn the heat off and leave the stuffing in the skillet.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF degrees.

  2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.  Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds saving the tops for lids.  

  3. Add peppers and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until just beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.  Using tongs, remove peppers from pot, drain excess water, and place peppers cut side up on paper towels.

  4. Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture, but not too tightly.  Replace the tops,  setting them  upside down with the stems stuck in the stuffing. 

  5. Set the stuffed peppers in a baking dish.  Add the water to the pan and drizzle  olive oil over the peppers.  Season with salt and bake until the peels wrinkle and the tops are blackened, 50-55 minutes.

  6. Remove from the oven and let them come to room temperature.  Invert the lids and serve.

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