Made with mildly spiced ground turkey stuffed into the easiest vegetable vessel around, this version of stuffed peppers is easy to make and perfect for Sukkot.
Stuffed vegetables have been a part of my culinary tablescape since beyond memory: peppers, always; also zucchinis of all varieties; eggplants, sometimes; grape leaves, made with fresh leaves, of course; in the States, we admitted butternuts and acorn squash and gourds of all kinds to the part; and, if we were extra lucky, we might even get a grandma to make us stuffed potatoes (the trickiest vegetable container to master, I submit). Stuffed vegetables to me are an entire food group, sitting next to its venerable cousins, the meatball group and the meat pastry group. So it always surprises me that stuffed vegetables are only an occasional thing on the American table (though certainly not, let it be noted, on the world's table). Well, I'm here to remedy all sorts of lack or nostalgia with a particularly easy entry into the world of the stuffed, which, for reasons that I have yet to be convinced the sources of, are a sukkot favorite.
Traditionally, stuffed peppers, like most Mediterranean and Middle Eastern stuffed vegetables, are made with a beef and rice filling that gets stuffed in raw. Then, the filling simmers inside the vegetables in sauce for a good long while. These turkey stuffed peppers are a quicker and lighter version, while still keeping much of the traditional flavor.
Making the filling
The turkey filling for stuffing into the peppers is cooked first in a skillet. (So no worrying about the meat cooking through: it's done by the time it goes into the peppers.) It's just a matter of sauteing the onions and carrots in a bit of olive oil, then browning the meat and adding in herbs and spices.
Stuffing and cooking the peppers
This recipe makes enough filling for 6 large bell peppers. I like to get a variety of colors for the effect, but you can also use all of one kind. Slice off just the very tops of the peppers, which should make it easy to discard the stem (it often comes out by itself) and de-seed the pepper. Save the top to act as a lid.
Once you've got all your peppers prepped, you can stand them up inside a Dutch oven or baking dish. Fill each one to the brim with turkey filling, then replace the tops of the peppers (like doing a puzzle).
The simple tomato sauce goes right into the baking dish, coming about halfway up the height of the peppers. Then it goes into the oven to simmer and roast until the peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
Looking for more recipes for Sukkot?
- Whole Wheat Harvest Challah with Cranberries and Pecans
- Moroccan-Spiced Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup with Crisped Chickpeas and Pomegranate (dairy-free)
- Chicken with Green Apples in Pomegranate Sauce
- Israeli Apple Cake (dairy-free)
Turkey Stuffed Peppers (meat)
- 6 bell peppers - any color you like, or a combination
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 slices of bread - or ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 large or 2 small onions - peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots - peeled and grated
- 3 Tbsp parsley - chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill - chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 3 cups tomato sauce - from 2 cans - 15 oz / 425 g each
- 3 cups chicken stock - 720 ml
- Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C.
Prep the peppers:
- Slice off the tops of the peppers and remove the stems and seeds. Set aside, keeping the tops.
Make the turkey filling:
- In the food processor, pulse the bread (if using) until fully crumbled. Add the parsley and pulse several times. Place in a large bowl.
- Next, add the onions and process until finely chopped. Once shredded, fry the onions in a skillet with a bit of olive oil.
- While the onions are frying, change to the shredding disk and process the carrots until shredded. Add the carrots to the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Using a spatula, push the onions and carrots to the sides of the skillet and brown the meat in the center, adding olive oil if needed. Break up the turkey as it browns. Once fully cooked, mix together the turkey and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, then add in the bread crumbs and dill. Combine well.
Stuff and bake the peppers:
- Place the peppers upright in a baking dish or Dutch oven. Spoon the filling into the peppers, filling them to the brim. Replace the tops onto the peppers.
- Pour crushed tomatoes and chicken stock over them until they are almost covered, and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and browning.