This recipe is written for stuffed whole peppers. It can also be adapted for stuffing half peppers and serving them “open-face.” Get a little fancy on a weeknight with this elegant little dish – and lift your spirits in the process. It’s not a lot of work, especially if you make the pilaf well ahead of time. Once baked, these will keep for up to a week if wrapped tightly and refrigerate. They reheat really well in a microwave or regular oven.
*Sauteing the uncooked bulgur and walnuts in oil before adding the water will give this dish a deeper, toastier flavor. This keeps for up to a week if stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. It reheats easily in a microwave.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking tray.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut the stem “fixture” from each pepper, reserving the stems. Reach inside the peppers with the knife or a spoon to scrape out the pith and seeds. Do your best to leave the peppers intact in the process.
Spoon in 1/2 cup pilaf per pepper, patiently packing it down as you go. Place the stems back on top as a plug for the filling (or, if you want to get poetic, as a hat for the pepper).
Brush the outside surface of each pepper with a little additional olive oil, and place them standing upright, if possible, on the prepared tray.
Bake for 35 minutes in the center of the oven. Let sit for at least 5 minutes; serve hot or warm.
Place a medium-small skillet (one that has a tight-fitting lid) over medium heat and wait about 1 minute. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.
Add the uncooked bulgur, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until it gives off a toasty smell. Keep stirring during this process to be sure it doesn’t burn. Pour in the water, place the lid on the pan, and turn off the heat. Let stand 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, fluff with a fork as you add the remaining tablespoon olive oil and the lemon juice. Stir in the chives, dill, parsley and feta, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the walnuts and dried fruit, if using, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: Courtesy of Mollie Katzen for the California Walnut Board