RECIPE

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Switch to lamb and orzo for an interesting flavor for stuffed red peppers. These peppers reheat well for a meal later in the week.

Ingredients

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups orzo pasta
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 ounces ground lamb
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and chopped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, divided
  • 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (a handful), chopped, divided
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cubanelle peppers or mild frying peppers, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce (28 ounces)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the tops from the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and ribs. Carefully trim the bottoms, if necessary, to make the peppers stand straight when upright. Place a steamer rack over a few inches of boiling water or set a colander over a couple of inches boiling water in a large stock pot. Place the peppers in the steamer and cover. Steam for 10 minutes, then remove to a baking dish or casserole.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the orzo and brown lightly, then add half of the garlic and stir. After 30 seconds, stir in the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer; cover and cook for 15 minutes. Spread the orzo onto a baking sheet and cool.

Place the ground lamb in a bowl and add the cooled orzo. Season with half of the marjoram, the rosemary and half of the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Overstuff the peppers with the filling. Drizzle about 1/4 cup EVOO over the peppers, pouring about 1 tablespoon over top of each.

Arrange the peppers in a casserole or small baking dish and roast for 50-60 minutes, until they are crispy at the edges and cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cubanelle peppers, remaining garlic and the remaining marjoram and sauté until soft. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Cool the peppers and sauce for a make-ahead meal or serve immediately.

For reheating: Add 1/2 cup water to the baking dish and place in a pre-heated 375°F oven, covered, until warmed throughout, about 30 minutes. Uncover and let the water evaporate and crisp the top, 20 minutes more. Reheat the sauce over medium-low heat to heat through.

Serve the peppers hot with sauce over top, or in a puddle underneath the peppers. Top with crumbled feta.

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Rachael Ray