Yemista – or ‘stuffed peppers’

I have fond memories of this dish because it reminds me so much of my childhood and the times my grandmother used to make it for me and my family. It always went down a treat! So, I tried recreating this traditional Greek/ Mediterranean classic, with my own sort of twist. I used leeks to make it low FODMAP, and some extra spices (such as cinnamon) to add character to the tomatoey mince. It’s a full of flavour and makes for such a hearty meal.

Serves 4

Gather

7-8 peppers, green and / or red, stalk cut off and de-seeded

1 leek, chopped (green parts only)

15-20 sprays of fry light, or 2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp italian mixed herbs

1 tbsp oregano

1kg beef mince (I personally like 5% fat)

400ml passatta

5 tbsp tomato puree

2 chicken stock cubes

500ml boiling water (plus extra if needed)

4 bay leaves

70g fresh parsley, finely chopped

200g basmati rice

Salt and black pepper

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan). Pre-grease a pyrex dish or rectangular tray and set aside. Place a saucepan on a medium heat, and fry the leeks in all the herbs and spices and oil for 2 minutes until they soften. Stir thoughout.

2.) Add the mince beef and cook until it browns. Meanwhile, prepare the stock by adding 500ml boiling water in a jug and stirring until both cubes dissolve.

3.) Add the passatta, puree and stock water, and mix well. Then add the rice,bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Stir again until all the ingredients are mixed well. Lower the temperature and place a lid on the saucepan, keeping it slightly ajar.

4.) Cook the mixture for 20-25 minutes, making sure to monitor it throughout and adding any extra water if it’s looking dry. Once the rice as softened, switch off the heat and place the saucepan on a heat mat.

5.) Fill each pepper with approx. 4 tbsp of the meat mixture, or until each one is completely full (but not spilling). Repeat this process until each pepper is stuffed (although you may have extra filling, which works well as a snack or side dish the next day). Place the peppers in the pre-greased tray and cover with tin foil. Place in the oven for 40 minutes.

6.) Leave to cool for 2-3 minutes before serving!

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