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Dolmeh (Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)

To ensure the peppers and tomatoes finish cooking at the same time, use small-to-medium peppers. Extra-large peppers will need 10 to 15 additional minutes.

4    small-to-medium yellow bell peppers
4    medium tomatoes
1/4 c. olive oil
1    medium onion, diced
8    garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 lb. ground beef or lamb
1/4 c. dried yellow split peas
1/2 tsp. saffron
1    tsp. turmeric
3/8 c. uncooked white rice
2    tbsp. tomato paste
1    tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops off peppers and tomatoes. Using paring knife, hollow out bottoms and set aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Gently sauté onions and garlic until soft, but not browned. Add ground meat and cook until no longer pink, breaking up clumps with spoon. Rinse peas and add to skillet; stir in saffron, turmeric, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 cups water. Simmer over low heat until peas are cooked halfway, about 10 minutes. Rinse rice and add to skillet; stir in tomato paste. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until rice is cooked through, 20–25 minutes, adding more water if mixture gets too dry. Remove from heat and stir in spices. Let cool. Divide cooled filling evenly among tomatoes and peppers, replace their tops, and place in baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Serve hot.  Serves 8.

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