red peppers stuffed with herb rice in the persian mannerrating:
250ml basmati rice
85g red lentils
8 red peppers 9about 1.8kg)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, ditto
1 large shallot, ditto
45g fresh parsley, very finely chopped
30g fresh chives, ditto
2 tbsps fresh tarragon, ditto
2 tbsps fresh basil, ditto
4.5 tbsp tomato pureé
1 tbsp caster sugar
combine rice and lentils in a bowl, and wash in several changes of water. Cover well with water and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
prepare the peppers; cut off the cap, deseed and core neatly. *Reserve the caps*!
drain rice and lentils. Put oil in large non=stick saute pan, set over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic, shallot and onion. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, until onion is soft and golden. Add rice and lentils and stir gently for 1 minutes. Add 120ml water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add another 120ml water and another 1/2 tsp of salt and stir very gently until all the water is absorbed - be careful not to break the rice grains. Repeat once more with salt and water, and when the water is absorbed, add herbs. Stir to mix through, and adjust for seasoning.
put tomato puree in a bowl, add sugar and 1.5 tsps salt, slowly add 750ml water, stirring as you go.
preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
stand the peppers in a baking tray. Fill each one 3/4 of the way to the top with rice. Pour 4 tbsps of the tomato mixture into each pepper, then close each
with its own cap. Pour some of the remaining tomato mixture into the tray, and put the peppers in the oven.
bake for about 1.25 - 1.5 hours, or until the peppers are soft. Baste frequently with the tomato mixture, adding more if need be.