Shakshuka isn’t just for breakfast anymore! This fabulous Middle Eastern feast is also a wonderful stuffing for grape leaves. Give it a whirl, these are the best stuffed peppers we ever had!
6 large juicy red bell peppers, cut in half, long ways (we use all three colors, red, orange and yellow… for the fun of it!)
2 cups Basmati rice, already cooked
2 pounds course ground meats or sausages (turkey, chicken, pork or lamb)
4 cups Shakshuka sauce, homemade or purchased
8 garlic cloves, 3 for the spinach, 5 for the onions and meats
12 ounces baby spinach, hard seared
1 large onion, or two small, diced
2 shallots, minced
8 ounces feta cheese, cut into small cubes
8 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces Mascarpone
1/2 cup Panko
2 tablespoons Harissa
1/4 cup preserved Meyer lemons, chopped in small chunks
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon Za’atar, ground
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon saffron, crushed and soaked in 1/4 cup broth to diffuse
6 tablespoons olive oil (2 for searing the spinach, 2 for onions, 2 for the meats)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt for the spinach (no other salt needed)
In a 12 inch saute pan, add olive oil and sear the baby spinach and garlic until greatly reduced and set aside.
In the same pan, add olive oil and sear the shallots first and then the onions and garlic until slightly browned.
In the same pan with the onions, add more olive oil and sear the meats until just slightly browned.
Add the Shakshuka sauce and simmer until slightly reduced.
Now add back the spinach, along with black pepper, ground fennel seeds, Za’atar, preserved Meyer lemons, saffron, paprika and Harissa. Simmer on medium/low until married.
Add all the rice and stir until well mixed. Place everything in a large bowl.
Now add all the cheeses, fresh dill and the Panko. Stir together until well mixed.
Using a large spoon, place this mixture into the bell peppers until they are stuffed full. We like to place the last of the Mascarpone on top, with a couple cubes of Feta. Place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees, bake for 45 minutes. Serve with Harissa on the side. Enjoy!