Stuffed peppers • Yemista piperia
‘Yemista’ literally means filled…in this instance peppers. They make a colourful sight, like traffic lights in a row,wearing little hats at a jaunty angle. Often over the Lenten fast we substitute the pork for finely sliced mushrooms. If I am having friends round knowing I will be short of time on the day, I prepare the yemista bar the cooking, cover with foil and chill for up to 24 hours then carry on from there adding a little extra cooking time to make up for them starting off chilled…easy. Or cook them the day before as they taste just as delicious cold with taziki and bread.
Serves 4 as a mains or 8 as a meze
8 large coloured peppers
½ glass (100ml) of olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
½ glass (100g) of long grain rice
125g of minced pork
2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
1 tbsp of freshly chopped mint
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
400g can of plum tomatoes,
or 6 large firm tomatoes, grated
juice of 1 lemon
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Neatly slice the tops off the peppers, reserving for later. Scoop out the seeds, discard.
Fry the onion in half the olive oil until just lightly coloured. Stir in the rice and pork, continuing to cook until the rice becomes transparent, the meat crumbly. Now add the herbs, cinnamon and tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt and some black pepper.
Spoon the mince mixture into each pepper to about three quarters full and stand the peppers snugly in a casserole dish. I wedge some potato slices in between, them if necessary, to keep them upright. Pop their lids back on.
Mix together the lemon juice with the remaining olive oil and ½ glass or 100ml water. Pour around the peppers. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 30mins or until just tender.