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Rachel Khoo's Peppers stuffed with smoky paprika rice

This recipe for colourful vegetables is as flexible as they come.

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
150g red rice/black rice
4 large beef or plum tomatoes
6 small red, orange and yellow peppers
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2–4 large mushrooms (approx. 125g), wiped
10 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 olives, pitted
1 tbsp chopped capers, drained
2 tsp smoked paprika
Optional: 40g raisins, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained
2 tbsp dried herbs

Equipment

Medium saucepan
Metal sieve
Large non-stick pan
One large tray lined with baking paper

Instructions 

Wash the rice until the water becomes clear. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions and drain when cooked. Preheat the oven to 180°c. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

While the rice is cooking, cut the tops off the tomatoes and use a spoon to hollow out the insides. Place the tops and the lower parts on the lined baking tray. Cut the peppers in half and remove and discard their cores. Add to the baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt. 

Heat the rest of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and mushrooms for 10 minutes. add the cooked and drained rice, the cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, smoked paprika and raisins, if using, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the herbs and check the seasoning. Spoon the filling into the vegetables. Place the vegetables on a large baking tray lined with baking paper.

Cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly soft. To serve, place the hats back on the tomatoes. 

Tips 

  1. Traditionally for this dish you would use herbes de provence, but I like to use my own homemade. In the hot summer months when my windowsill herbs are going wild, I like to cut them back and dry them out. Just tie a bunch together and hang upside down in a dry place and you’ll have your own homemade dried herbs to create a blend of your choice.  Plus they will be a lot more fragrant than the dusty old supermarket ones. When the herbs are dry you can crumple them up and pop them in a jar.
  2. Black rice is a wholegrain rice which is packed with goodness and even better for you than brown rice. You can reduce the cooking time (which is much longer than your classic long grain rice) by pre-soaking in cold water after rinsing it.
  3. Wash rice until water becomes clear. Rinsing the rice removes any debris, and most importantly, it removes the surface starch that otherwise causes the rice to clump together and go gummy as it cooks.
  4. I like to add a little smoked paprika to this to give it a smoky depth, but feel free to change it up with a little rummage in your spice drawer. A tsp of ground cumin, ground coriander, or a pinch of hydrated saffron threads all go beautifully. 
  5. Don’t stress about what you stuff your peppers with. Any type of rice or grain works well. I like to add the end of a packet of dried fruits or nuts, for a pop of sweetness or a little extra crunch. 
  6. Soak dried fruit before adding to the recipe to stop it drying out as it cooks.