Homecookin’: Turkish Meat & Rice Stuffed Peppers

Date March 10, 2010

NYC Food Guy is proud to introduce esteemed recipe contributor Spice Jonze’n. If you’d like to contribute your recipes to the site e-mail [email protected].  Take  it away Spice…

This recipe takes a lot of cues from Turkish stuffed peppers (Etli Biber Dolmasi) but it can also be customized to fit anyone’s particular tastes.  I like to make this dish very spicy, the way it’s meant to be, but feel free to tone down your spice levels to whatever suits your taste buds.  This recipe is great to feed a large number of people or to have a nice leftover lunch to bring to work tomorrow.

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

One more note before we get started, if at all possible, please source the most local and freshest produce you can find. Sadly, I am not able to make it to the green market every day, so usually the fresh organic produce at your local store is fine; though food always tastes better when the vine to table time is measured in hours not days or weeks (do not buy produce from Mexico, unless it is some sort of hot-ass Chile pepper, ever, seriously — throw that shit on the floor so they stop selling it).


Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

  • 6-8 large Green Peppers (Preferably locally grown peppers from the green market)
  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20 works well, who doesn’t enjoy a little extra fat?)
  • 5-6 medium onions, finely Chopped Pine Nuts
  • Chopped Dill (Fresh)
  • Chopped Parsley (Fresh)
  • Mint (Fresh)
  • 1 Cup White rice
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Pepper
  • Turkish Crushed Red Pepper Spice (TRP) (You can find this at a Turkish specialty shop or online — you need this spice, I put it in everything)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tomato (grated)
  • 4 Tomatoes for Tops (firmer the better)


  • Large Bowl
  • Dutch Oven (enameled cast iron, or just regular cast iron)

The Filling

Take a large bowl and combine the ground beef, onions, pine nuts, parsley, dill, mint, rice, salt, pepper, TRP, cumin, juice of 1 lemon (make sure not to get seeds in there). Mix all ingredients together with your (washed) hands very well.

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

The Peppers

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

  1. Cut out the tops of the peppers (reserve for your compost pile, yes, you need one)
  2. Clean out the insides with a small knife and wash out all the seeds so your peppers looks nice and beautiful and ready to get stuffed.
  3. Stuff those peppers with the filling making sure to leave a little bit of room at the top.
  4. Take your tomatoes and cut into thick rounds and then halve.
  5. Now stuff the halves into the tops of the peppers to seal them off.

Now doesn’t that look beautiful? Take a picture.

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com


The best way to do this is with a dutch oven, either an enameled cast iron duct oven (#1 must-have kitchen tool) or as seen in the picture, a vintage cast iron dutch oven, THE VOLLRATH! In this case I used both since only 3 peppers fit in each pot.

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

After you place the peppers in the pan, liberally place a pad of butter in the middle, pour 2 ½ cups water into the pot, drizzle olive oil on and around the peppers and then salt and pepper the tops. Turn on your burner to high and cover. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and cover. The peppers should take anywhere from 45-60 minutes.

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

After about 45 minutes, open up the top and take a look. The peppers should be a paler shade of green and the rice should be starting to push its way out of the peppers. You do not want the pepper to get too mushy or everything will just fall apart. Press the side of the pepper with your finger, if it is still very firm, then it is not cooked all the way, if it feels just right and not too mushy then it is time to take out of the pot.

Turkish Stuffed Peppers - NYCFoodGuy.com

Let the peppers cool down a little and then they are ready to serve, I like to add hot sauce or sriracha (a.k.a. crack) to spice things up some more because the cooking process dilutes a little of the heat.

Bon appétit,
Spice Jonze’n