Ground Lamb & Feta Cheese Stuffed Bell Peppers

I’m just going to get this out there, I don’t like peppers. It’s not a hatred, just an indifference; I don’t go seeking them out. So when Momma Cypher gave me a pound of ground lamb to play with and I asked Jake what he wanted, when he suggested stuffed peppers I was a little less than excited. But since I told him I would make him whatever he wanted, I decided to entertain him. For my pepper-hating brethren, take heart, this was actually a delicious surprise.

Here’s what you’ll need for six people, or one Carolyn and her hungry hubbie.

-1 tablespoon butter

-1/4 cup “Opa Dill and Feta Greek Yogurt” salad dressing (or similar dressing)

-1/3 cup white wine (our choice was Riesling)

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 medium onion, chopped

-1 clove garlic, minced

-1 cup cooked rice

-roughly 1 pound ground lamb

-1 cup crumbled feta cheese

-1 cup tomato sauce

-6 medium green bell peppers

-2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

-3/4 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (plus a little extra for the sauce)

-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

-1 teaspoon white sugar

-3/4 cup cold water

-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

(Recipe modified from Allrecipies.com)

Hokay, so, here is how we make ze peppers. Turn on your oven to 375 degrees F. Heat oil and butter on medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions and cook them until soft (approx. 4 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook for one minute. Throw in a dash of salt and pepper.

Skillet Onions

Slice off the tops of the peppers, take out the seeds and ribs. Then line a 9″x13″ baking dish with aluminum foil and stand the peppers upright in this dish like little toy soldiers.

IMG_20141025_170723_183

In a large bowl, combine the onion/garlic mixture, the dill (I really recommend fresh dill, you will not be disappointed), salt, allspice, and black pepper. Mix in the rice and lamb (uncooked lamb), and then fold in the feta cheese. I added more feta, because this is America and I can.

Lamb and cheese folded in

Stuff the peppers with the mixture, just like your uncle stuffs his face at Thanksgiving.

IMG_20141025_173117_660

Mix the tomato sauce with water, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour half of this mixture over the peppers and the rest in the bottom of the dish, like a big pepper spa. Cover the peppers with foil.

Pouring over uncooked peppers

Bake the peppers in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes until the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F in the center of the filling.

***Food for thought: when I made this, I noticed there was a lot of liquid in the peppers when I pulled them out of the oven and set them on a plate. I poured them off into the pan this time, but next time I might poke a hole in the bottom to let them drain.

Remove the peppers from the oven. Now quick while the peppers are resting, pour the drippings from the dish into the skillet the onions were cooked in. Put the skillet on high heat, and add the wine and a dash of allspice. Stir continuously until reduced by half.IMG_20141025_184833_280

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the Opa salad dressing for creamy deliciousness. Salt and pepper can be added to taste. Feel free to experiment, you can add greek yogurt, sour cream, or even tzatziki sauce. Spoon the sauce over the top of your peppers. If you want to get really fancy, you can crumble more feta cheese over the peppers and add a sprig of dill on the top.

Pouring sauce over peppers

Now commence nomming.

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If you’re like me and you dislike peppers, you’ll find the pepper flavor becomes milder during baking and adds a nice touch to the mini-lamb meatloaf you just made.

-Carolyn

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