Ardei Umplutzi cu Orez

An unusual way of cooking peppers which comes from Romania, Ardei Umplutzi cu Orez (ar-DAY- oom-plootz koo oh-rayz) makes an excellent accompaniment to any braised meat. large green peppers ft. oz. yogurt chopped parsley

2 tablespoons oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

6 oz. cooked long grain rice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

1 teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper

1 egg

1| oz. butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon flour

8 fl. oz. chicken stock cube | lb. tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons tomato puree

Cut the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds and white pith.

For the filling, heat the oil in a sauce-pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and stirring occasionally, fry for 3 to 4 minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the rice, parsley, mixed herbs, salt, 6 grindings of pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Stir in the egg and mix well. Stuff the peppers pressing the filling down with the back of a spoon.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350CF (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

For the sauce, place the butter in a flameproof casserole and melt over moderate heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 2 to 3 minutes until they are soft but not brown. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour the chicken stock slowly into the onion mixture stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring and cook until the sauce is thick and boiling. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar and tomato puree.

Remove the casserole from the heat. Place the green peppers, in the sauce, cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the peppers are cooked. Remove the lid and spoon the yogurt over each pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

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