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  • Writer's pictureLydia Gerratt

Peppers stuffed with pork, veal and rice in a rich tomato sauce

Peppers stuffed with veal, pork and rice in a rich tomato sauce

I take my car to a brilliant mechanic in Kilburn. While waiting for repairs to be done, I make a bee line to the Turkish food shops on the Kilburn high road.

They sell crates of Turkish 'white' peppers which remind me of long lunches on my grandmother’s balcony in Montenegro. I would eat my way through pepper after sweet white pepper stuffed with locally raised veal and rice, and baked in a rich sauce of tomatoes. Those tomatoes had been picked that morning from her garden.

Turkish white peppers are not really white, but a pale lime green with delicate skins. Their fragrant flesh fills the kitchen with mouth-watering savouriness after they have been baking in the oven for an hour. Red, yellow and orange peppers work well if you can’t get white Turkish peppers.

There are only a few ingredients used to create this dish. Each one brings its own flavour to meld together with the fragrant peppers.

Miraculous ingredients: peppers, mince veal (organic) and mince pork (free range or organic), Tilda basmati rice, good quliaty can of plum tomatoes

Peppers stuffed with veal, pork and rice in a rich tomato sauce

Peppers stuffed with pork, veal and rice in a rich tomato sauce


6 peppers (if you can’t find white Turkish ones then orange, yellow and red bell peppers work well)

250g minced veal and 250g minced pork (or 500g minced pork if you can't find veal)

3 brown onions, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup Basmati white rice (Tilda is the best)

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven).

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large deep casserole pot that has a tight fitting lid (I use a huge Le Creuset pot) on a medium heat and add 2 of the finely chopped brown onions. Fry until they begin to brown. Stir in 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic and fry for just 20 seconds. Pour in both cans of plum tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a spatula, season with salt and stir through. Add a can of water (use the tomato can) and leave to bubble on a medium heat for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat.

Place a large frying pan on a medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining chopped onion and fry until the onion begins to brown. Add the remaining 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic and fry for another 20 seconds. Add all the mince veal and pork, break up with the spatula and fry until the meat just turns brown and loses its raw pink colour. Stir in sea salt (I add 1 teaspoon) and freshly ground pepper, add the handful of basmati rice and stir to coat the grains with fat.

Carefully cut out the stalk from each pepper and remove all the seeds. Stuff each pepper with the cooked mince and rice mixture. Be careful not to push the meat and rice mixture too hard into the peppers, instead fill them fairly 'loosely' so the rice has space to expand when it cooks. Arrange the stuffed peppers in the casserole pot that contains the tomato sauce. I decant ½ the tomato sauce out of the casserole pot first so I can then pour the tomato sauce over the peppers once they are in. Add a cup of water to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot to cook the peppers and the rice. Put the lid on and into the oven for an hour.

After an hour baking, check to see if the sauce is liquid enough - I usually have to add another few tablespoons of water at the point - and drizzle some olive oil over the peppers so they glisten. Put the covered pot back in the oven for another half an hour.

The peppers are ready when the rice is completely cooked and the peppers are soft and aromatic.

The stuffed peppers taste wonderful when eaten with creamy mashed potatoes, split open with tomato sauce poured over the meat and rice.

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking 2 hours, 4 adult portions, 2 child portions

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