Stuffed dried peppers with rice
Traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Bulgaria
10-12 dried peppers*
1 cup of round rice
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of dried savory
1 teaspoon of dried onions
1 teaspoon of dried parsley
3 to 5 tablespoons of oil
* replace with fresh red peppers, long-shaped (e.g. corno di toro)
Cook the onion in a little oil for 2 minutes in a lidded saucepan. Then stir in the rice and fry until it becomes slightly transparent. Pour ½ cup of boiling water and add the grated tomatoes and carrots, as well as all the spices. When the rice absorbs the water, remove the stuffing from the heat.
Carefully clean the dried peppers of any residual seeds. Then, soak them in boiling water. When they soften, fill them to the top with the pre-cooked rice. Dip each opening in a small bowl of flour so that the stuffing does not escape.
Arrange the stuffed peppers in a large saucepan, overlapping them so that they are not fully horizontal. Press the stuffed peppers with an upside down plate (which is smaller than the diameter of the pot).
Pour in enough hot water to cover them to two-thirds. You may season the broth with a little salt, oil and savory. Cook at small bubbles for 1 hour.
It is possible to transfer them to a baking dish and continue cooking them in the oven preheated to 180°C for 30 to 40 minutes just to give them a beautiful golden color and a smoked flavor. Otherwise, serve them as they are, cooked on the stove. They are just as delicious and a bit juicier than the oven-baked.