Pulneni Chushki, or Bulgarian stuffed peppers, is a traditional and appetizing dish with bell peppers filled with a savory mixture of rice, minced meat, and herbs, then baked to perfection. These colorful and flavorful stuffed peppers make for an impressive main course or side dish that will impress any gathering.
Preparation time: Approximately 40 minutes, plus 40 minutes of cooking time
Ingredients (for four people)
- 8 medium-sized bell peppers (assorted colors, approximately 800g)
- 200g uncooked white rice
- 380g minced meat (pork, beef, or a combination)
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped (approximately 100g)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 400g canned tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
- 250ml water or vegetable broth for cooking
Method to prepare
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Rinse and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat the sunflower oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the minced meat to the saucepan and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
- Stir in the rice, minced garlic, chopped parsley, dill, mint, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Carefully stuff each bell pepper with the rice and meat mixture, leaving a little room at the top for the rice to expand during cooking.
- Combine the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and the water or vegetable broth in a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers upright. Arrange the stuffed peppers in the dish, placing them close together to help them remain upright.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the peppers are tender.
- Remove from the oven and let the peppers cool slightly before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- For a vegetarian version, substitute the minced meat with an equal amount of cooked, crumbled mushrooms or grated zucchini.
- You can use any color of bell peppers, but a mix of red, yellow, and green peppers makes for a visually appealing presentation.
- Be sure not to overstuff the peppers, as the rice will expand during cooking and could cause them to burst.
Bulgarian stuffed peppers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the peppers in a preheated oven at 150°C (300°F) for 10-15 minutes or until heated.