Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dolmeh Felfel







Iranian stuffed bell pepper!
   
     There is no end to the great flavors in this Iranian style stuffed pepper entree!  There is no garlic in this recipe.  The mixture of herbs that are used to make the sabzi gives this stuffed pepper a very interesting aroma and flavor.
     A common Sabzi recipe is sauteed finely chopped herbs, fenugreek leaves, green onion and leek.  Dried fenugreek leaves can be found in Arabic or Persian markets.  Fenugreek is actually a vegetable, so the entire plant can occasionally be found at markets too.
     Ground lamb or ground beef can be used to make this entree.  I chose beef today.  Persian cuisine has many old traditional stuffed vegetable entrees.  This is a stuffed pepper recipe that is worth trying!
     Las Vegas has many fine Persian, Iranian and Arabic restaurants.  I chose to do sales representative work a few years ago in Las Vegas, while recovering from chemo therapy.  I was not able to do physical work at that time.  Our sales office was located next to one of best Persian restaurants in Las Vegas.  When we got out of the office in the evening, the aroma of great Persian food was in the air.  The aroma of the food from that Persian restaurant was very good advertising.  The aroma of the Persian food was a customer magnet!
  
     Sabzi Recipe:
     Place 6 to 8 finely minced mint leaves in a small bowl.
     Add 2 teaspoons of finely minced fenugreek leaves.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced Italian parsley.
     Add 1 minced green onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced leek.
     Heat a saute pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add the minced sabzi mixture.
     Gently saute the sabzi mixture, till it becomes aromatic.  (About 1 to 2 minutes)
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Reduce the liquid, till it is nearly evaporated.
     Set the mixture aside in a bowl.  (You can add a little bit of mashed fava bean or sesame paste to the sabzi to make it thick or leave it as is.)
  
     Persian Bell Pepper Stuffing Recipe:
     Soak 1/2 cup of basmati rice in water for one hour.
     Rinse the rice 5 times with water.
     Place the rice in a sauce pot.
     Cover the rice with 1 1/2 cups of water.
     Bring the rice to a boil.
     Cook the rice for 5 minutes.
     Drain the water off of the rice.
     Set the partially cooked rice aside.
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     When the onions start to turn clear in color, add about 4 ounces of lean ground beef.  (The amount of ground beef and stuffing, depends on the size of the pepper.)
     Break the ground beef into little pieces as it cooks.
     When the ground beef starts to brown, add the sabzi mixture.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of tarragon.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Add just enough water, to cover the ground beef in the pan.
     Add 2 tablespoons of imported Italian canned crushed tomato.
     Simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
     Add some of the partially cooked rice.  (The amount of rice should be almost equal in volume to the amount of beef in the pan.)
     Stir the ingredients.
     Simmer till the liquid has nearly evaporated.
     Add 1 small squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
     Set the stuffing aside.
  
     Dolmeh Felfel:
     Cut a circle shaped opening on the top of a red bell pepper.
     Use a spoon to remove the pulp and seeds inside the pepper.
     Rinse the pepper seeds out of the bell pepper with cold running water.
     Shake out any excess water.
     Spoon the stuffing into the pepper.
     Pour a little bit of water in a small sauce pot.
     Set the stuffed red bell pepper upright in the sauce pot.  (Baking the pepper in a small sauce pot will keep it from falling over!)
     Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the stuffed pepper.
     Partially cover the sauce pot with a lid.
     Place the sauce pot and pepper in a 325 degree oven.
     When the stuffed pepper becomes hot and it is still firm, uncover the sauce pot and place it back in the oven.
     When the stuffed pepper becomes cooked tender, then it is done baking.
   
     Presentation:
     Place a small amount of cooked basmati rice that is seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, saffron and turmeric on a plate.  (Any leftover partially cooked rice from making the stuffed pepper can be finished and cooked for the bed of rice on the plate.)
     Set the stuffed pepper on the bed of rice.
     Garnish the rice with pomegranate fruit.
  
     This Iranian stuffed red bell pepper has a very nice aroma and flavor.  Iranian style stuffed pepper is not heavy, greasy or garlicky.  The bed of pomegranate jeweled rice adds a nice touch to the plate.
     This Persian style stuffed pepper recipe is a very nice change from the standard eastern european style stuffed green pepper with tomato sauce recipes.  Iranian food is aromatic and full of great healthy flavor!  Yummy!  ...  Shawna

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