Turkish stuffed peppers (etli biber dolması) are a favorite around here. If you’ve never tried them, here’s your chance to taste the best recipe out there!
The stuffed peppers of my youth were pitiable little things, wrinkled and desiccated like the mummified remains of some long-forgotten Pharaoh buried under the hot Egyptian sands. It took an iron will and a glass of milk to chew past their leathery exteriors and probe the mysteries of the arid inner chambers. Desert conditions prevailed within those oven-baked artifacts of meat and bell pepper, and a boy could choke if he didn’t haul in enough life-sustaining milk to see him through the excavation.
After those harrowing stuffed pepper adventures in my younger years, I shied away from them for decades, much as I did with pot roast. But then along came Handan and with her, a whole new take on the
petrified stuffed pepper.
The Turkish stuffed peppers she made for me were juicy and salty and bursting with so many flavors I could hardly name them all! They were a revelation, and I vowed to crack their code and make them over and over and over again.
Over the past four years, I have developed my own recipe for Turkish stuffed peppers, using all the same ingredients that Turks would use in their cuisine, but I’ve apparently combined them in a way that Handan says most Turks wouldn’t. But she also agrees, they are the best stuffed peppers she’s ever had in her long Turkish life. For this post, I used bell peppers, but I’ve also included a pic from last year (pictured above) for which I used cubanelle and banana peppers from my garden. This is one of my favorite uses of my peppers each summer.
These stuffed peppers are healthy and low carb. Though there is rice in this recipe, I use a lot less than the traditional recipe calls for. They’ll work on a paleo or keto diet.
Okay, enough of my blabbing. Let’s make some Turkish stuffed peppers! Oh, by the way, in Turkish it’s written etli biber dolması (pronounced et-lee bee-BARE dole-MA-suh).
Turkish Stuffed Peppers (Etli Biber Dolması)
- 2 pounds ground beef - 80% lean
- 1 pound tomatoes - diced
- 1 sweet onion - finely diced
- 1 bunch parsley - chopped
- 1 bunch dill - chopped
- 8 ounces feta cheese - crumbled
- 1/2 cup rice
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon pul biber (Turkish hot pepper) - optional
- 1 teaspoon isot biber (Turkish hot pepper) - optional
- 12 bell peppers (can sub almost any style pepper) - tops removed, seeded and ribs removed
- 1 quart beef broth
- plain yogurt - for serving
- In large mixing bowl, combine first 12 ingredients and mix thoroughly with hands.
- Stuff mixture into peppers and place into a large, wide-bottomed pot.
- Add broth until the peppers are about half covered (may only take 2 cups).
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
- Can be eaten right away or left to cool and then reheated (as the Turks would do it).
- Serve with some of the flavored broth and a dollop of plain yogurt.