It has been four months since I have moved to Australia. This life altering decision has been awesome, to say the least and an experience I will forever be grateful for. Moving across the world has its pros…and it also has its cons- HOME SICK!
There truly is no place like home. I miss my family and friends the most and I love looking at pictures and reading emails about each and every one of them. What I didn’t expect was how an impromptu meal could make me feel so close to home and reminisce on some of my favorite memories. My best friend is Turkish, that means that for 17 years I have had the honor of being by her side and experiencing her ever lasting loyalty, friendship….and Mediterranean Cuisine. I use to love walking up to her door and already smell her mom’s delicious cooking. I remember sitting at their dinner table, surrounded by turkish conversations and turkish TV in the background and marveling at their colorful display of food- chopped tomato and cucumber salad, feta cheese, olives, fresh bread, beans, vegetables, lentil soup, meat dishes cooked with delicious spices…I think I just felt my stomach growl.
It should have been no surprise to me to immediately think about my best friend and my favorite memories in her kitchen when I decided to be courageous and make Stuffed Peppers for the very first time. Stuffed Peppers was one of my favorite dishes prepared by her mother. Just to take my memory a little bit closer to home, I accompanied the stuffed pepper with a heaping side of greek yogurt. Not the same as her mother’s homemade yogurt, but close enough to allow me to close my eyes and almost feel as though I am sitting in her kitchen all over again- minus the turkish TV and my best friend’s amazing company 🙂
Here is my recipe:
4 red peppers
1 pound minced/ground beef or chicken or turkey
1 1/2 cups dry rice
6 mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup tomato salsa
2 tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP oregano
- Start cooking rice. While rice is cooking, start preparing the mix.
- Cook chopped onions in a fry pan in oil until cooked through. Add chopped mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced meat, herbs and Worcestershire sauce; when meat is 3/4 cooked, add garlic and continue to stir and cook.
- Add crushed tomatoes, salsa and simmer for ~5 minutes or until meat is cooked through.
- Add cooked rice to mixture; remove from heat, mix and let stand.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or ~400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the tops of the peppers and the seeds inside. Boil peppers in salted water for ~6 minutes.
- Remove from water and begin stuffing each pepper with mixture until it reaches the top of the pepper. Place each stuffed pepper on a tray lined with aluminum foil. Bake peppers for 30 minutes, rotating half way through.
- The skin of the peppers will start to char/burn- this is okay! When peppers are finished cooking, you will gently peel off this layer of burnt skin, which has given the peppers a yummy smokey, grilled flavor. Serve with a dallop of greek yogurt and enjoy the memories (well, I will anyway…you just enjoy and make memories of your own).
*Note: you could bake the peppers and peel off the skin before stuffing them, but I found that the peppers provided better stability for stuffing before they were baked. I am a rookie in the game of stuffing peppers so if you have any experiences with this, I’d love to hear it!