These colored bell peppers are not commonly sold together here, so I was quite surprised when I saw them at the bazaar last week. Look at their vibrant colors! Aren’t they so attractive and tempting? Green bell pepper is quite common, but this type of red and yellow bell peppers are hardly seen. I was hooked by these red, green and yellow bell peppers and bought some without thinking twice. I knew I would stuff them when buying, but had no idea about the filling until I saw a new type of wheat called firik at the market.
Firik is the name used for unripe wheat. Unripe wheat ears are roasted when they are still green and then seeded, so firik has a smoky flavor, which makes it a unique product. I made a search and found that it is called
spelt freekeh in English. Spelt Freekeh is mostly used to make pilaf and combined with roasted lamb in our cuisine and it becomes an irresistible meal that way. I wanted to use it for stuffing bell peppers though. Can you imagine that smoky flavor inside peppers? It becomes divine when peppers stuffed with spelt freekeh and lamb pieces are cooked in oven.
Mostly rice or bulgur is combined with ground beef for the filling of stuffed vegetables in Turkish cuisine, but
spelt freekeh and lamb go perfectly together in these bell peppers too. You don’t have to cook the filling beforehand when you use ground beef and rice or bulgur since they cook easily. For the filling in these peppers, it’s good to cook spelt freekeh and lamb pieces before stuffing peppers.
It’s a good idea to put the stuffed peppers in oven to give them even a more smoky flavor. You still need to cook them in a pot before the oven process, otherwise it takes so long for them to get done. Just keep them in oven until their tops are a little burned.
I can say that these were the best stuffed bell peppers I’ve made!
Spelt Freekeh has an outstanding flavor which is more noticeable than bulgur or rice and lamb pieces are much better than ground beef for this recipe since you feel them in your mouth better.
You can use both freekeh and spelt for this recipe. To learn more about spelt, I recommend you to read the article Good Grains: What is Spelt? at thekitchn.
If you can’t find spelt or freekeh in your area, you can definitely use regular bulgur for this recipe.
I’m sure freekeh is an excellent ingredient for risotto as well. You should check out David Lebovitz’s Artichoke Freekeh Risotto! I will definitely try it later.
Correction: I’ve realized that the wheat I used here is called freekeh in English, not spelt. The green roasted one is freekeh. Thanks to my dear reader Stamatia for this clarification! Check out her comment below! Still you can use both grains for this recipe.
- 2 green bell peppers, seeds discarded
- 2 red bell peppers, seeds discarded
- 2 yellow bell peppers, seeds discarded
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 200g lamb, chopped
- 1 cup freekeh, washed well
- 1 and ¼ cup hot water
- 1 tomato, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves, finely chopped
- ½ bunch of parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp dried mint
- ½ tsp ground black Pepper
- A pinch of chili powder
- Salt to taste
- Heat 4 tbsp olive oil in a pot and saute onion in it.
- Add in chopped lamb and cover the pot. Cook it over medium low heat until lamb pieces release juice.
- Add in washed spelt and chopped tomato, stir.
- Pour ¼ cup hot water and cook until all water is absorbed. It will not be completely cooked, just a little tender.
- Add in chopped greens and spices and take it from stove.
- Stuff peppers with spelt mixture and place them in a large pot. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over them.
- Pour 1 cup hot water in the pot and cook over medium low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 200C.
- Transfer stuffed peppers into a baking dish and cook them until their tops are a little burned.