Want to feel the cheerful spirit of autumn in your kitchen? Try these Russian-style stuffed mini peppers with a creamy sauce.Yulia Mulino
Stuffed peppers is quite an international dish. Many southern countries such as Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania have variations: fillings that include either vegetables, cheese, fish or even berries. Peppers grow in warm climates, which can be found only in a few Russian regions. However, many Russians consider peppers an important part of their culinary tradition.
In the Soviet Union, stuffed peppers were usually sold as tinned food or were served in canteens. In our family, they have been cooked at home since the 1980s, when my mother found the recipe in a cooking magazine. First, she used to make stuffed peppers in a tomato-cream sauce. Now, she prefers to use only fresh tomatoes, enriching the taste with garlic, parsley and bay leaves. Following family traditions, I cook stuffed peppers in a tomato sauce as well. The creamy dressing, which is a relevant addition to the dish, can be served apart.
I couldn’t leave this recipe without adding my own twist - I used mini peppers. They look so colourful and tempting! Moreover, it takes less time to prepare them in comparison to the classic big peppers. Treat yourself and your family to these flavored, juicy mini peppers in the special way that Russians make them.
1. Cook rice 'al dente' and let it cool.
2. Chop the onions and fry till soft and golden.
3. Add rasped carrots and stew for about 5 minutes.
4. Put some onions and carrots aside - we will need it later for the filling.
5. Rasp tomatoes to get their juice.
6. Add 3 tablespoons of tomato paste to the onions and carrots, and stew covered with a lid for about 15 minutes.
7. Mix raw mince meat, half-cooked rice and the onions and carrots base that we put aside before (point 4). Add salt and black pepper.
8. Remove the seeds from the peppers.
9. Fill the peppers with the meat-rice filling.
10. Put aside a couple of tablespoons of the tomato-carrot sauce in a separate pan. We will need it for the cream sauce later.
11. Take a deep pot, place the tomato sauce to the bottom, put the peppers vertically covering each with its cap.
12. Add boiled water so that it almost covers the peppers. Cover the pot with a lid and let boil for about an hour on low heat.
13. Add cream to that small amount of tomato sauce that we set aside (point 10). Use a hand blender to obtain a smooth texture for the cream sauce.
14. Take off the burner; add parsley and crushed garlic.
15. Let the peppers stay covered another 30 minutes.
16. You may serve them with a rich broth or with the creamy sauce. Enjoy!
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