September in Bulgaria is a feast. Gardens overflow with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, apples, grapes, and other homegrown fruits and vegetables. What doesn't get eaten gets canned in preparation for the long, cold winter ahead. Being one who much prefers veggies fresh as opposed to canned, I have been gorging myself every day thanks to the hard work and incredible generosity of Баба Ристена (Baba Ristena). Таратор (Tarator) and Шопска салата (Shopska Salad) have been staples of my diet, but lately I've been inundated with peppers. To remedy this "problem," I've taken to making what a friend describes as a "true Bulgarian dish" - Пълнени чушки (Stuffed Peppers).
Here's her recipe:
10-12 large peppers
1 cup rice
1 lb. mincemeat
4 medium-sized tomatoes
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the rice.
Preheat oven to 375° F
Cut off tops of peppers and remove the seeds.
Heat oil in a frying pan.
Finely chop the onions and fry in oil for 2-3 minutes.
Add the meat and cook 5 minutes.
Add the rice and diced tomatoes.
Add salt, pepper, and paprika.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Stuff each pepper with the mixture.
Put in an oven proof deep dish.
Fill the dish half way with water.
Cover dish with foil and cook for approximately 30 minutes in oven.
Uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the peppers are fully cooked.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Serve with plain yogurt on the side.
Stuffed Peppers with Mincemeat and Rice.