Palneni chushki or stuffed peppers is a dish popular in many countries around the world under different names but ask any Bulgarian about it and they will say it’s one of the most traditional national dishes. It has many variations, but generally all fall under one of the two kinds – vegetarian and with meat. The meat, usually ground beef, is mixed with herbs, spices and rice. Here we present the meat recipe. We used red bell peppers but don’t let this limit your creativity… you can stuff almost any kind of pepper you wish!
Serves: 4 (makes 8 stuffed peppers)
Preparation time: 60 minutes
8 bell peppers (red or green), cored and seeded, but keep the tops
300g minced meat (beef, pork or mixed)
100g rice (any white rice will do)
2 onions, chopped
3 tbs. Oil
1 tbs. dried savory
1 tsp. paprika,
salt and pepper, to the taste
150 ml fresh tomato juice or canned tomato puree (4 tbsp, diluted with water)
1 small carrot, grated and sautéed with the onions
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, add the minced meat and cook for about 5 minutes, add the rice and season with salt, pepper, savory and paprika. Add half cup of hot water and cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Take off the heat when the rice is half-cooked.
Stuff each pepper with the mixture (about 3/4 full), using a spoon. Arrange the peppers in a deep oven proof dish, and top up with hot water to half fill the dish. Should you decide to use tomato juice, pour it over the stuffed peppers, and add little hot water. Cover with foil and cook for about 30 minutes in a preheated oven (190 C ͦ).
Uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the peppers are cooked. You can serve them on their own or with plain yogurt.