Dolmas, stuffed peppers, are almost exclusively green in Turkey; However, the green peppers there are tiny and beautifully thin, which is perfect for stuffing. I don't even try to cram green peppers in the US. Every now and then I come across smaller peppers, usually red or purple, in farmers markets and grocery stores and immediately jump over them for joy. I especially like the red ones because the sweetness of the red peppers comes into its own when baking. These peppers are about the size of my fist.
This recipe is for 8 peppers
1 large onion, ~ 1 1/2 cups finely chopped (you can use a food processor)1 1/2 cups white rice
1 large tomato or two medium-sized tomatoes, grated
1 tomato (this is used to cover the peppers after filling)
1/4 – 1/3 cup pine nuts (I love them so I go for 1/3)
1/4 cup currants (most people who aren't sweet in their food skip this ingredient) 1 tbsp allspice1 teaspoon ground black pepper1 tbsp mint flakes or ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped1 teaspoon white sugarSalt-Juice of 1/2 lemon2 cups of boiling water
-Wash all the peppers. Take out the top part and seeds. Prick the bottom once or twice with a sharp knife point. (Save the tips if you want to cover your dolmas like the picture. If you prefer tomato covers like the first picture, discard the tips. Tomato covers keep the dolmas juicier and the pepper tops look very cute.) – Mix all ingredients except paprika, a tomato, which we use as a lid, and water. -Stuff the peppers with the rice. Don't go all the way up, leaving almost 3 to 4 inches to 1 inch as the rice will cook and rise. -Cut the tomato round enough to cover the tips. Press down on the tomato slice to make sure it stays there. (If you choose to use the lids, do the same.) Place the dolmas in a stove and an ovenproof bowl or saucepan as tall as this. -Pour 2 cups of boiling hot water. – First bring to a boil on the stove and cook for 5 minutes, then bake in the uncovered oven at 390-400 F for 35-40 minutes until the rice is cooked. (If you are not sure, check the rice with a fork). I really like it when my oven baked dolmas get just a little charred so I make sure they do. They are so delicious. – Take them out and let them cool to room temperature. Oven-baked vegetarian dolmas, like all other Turkish olive oil dishes, are best at room temperature and the day after they are prepared. Enjoy with yogurt!
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