Not your average boring stuffed peppers! These are stuffed with shawarma spiced chicken and drizzled with a tahini sauce. Shawarma Stuffed Peppers are heeeerrrreeee!Y’all may be thinking, Amy, wasn’t it just Rosh Hashanah and now you’re telling me it’s Sukkot?? When will the madness end!? Guys, this is a busy time of year! Speaking of, today is my one day between trips. I was in Michigan for a friend’s wedding. (Totally epic, lots of happy tears, dancing, and we even caught a little foliage!) And tomorrow I’m off to a Jewish food retreat! Super excited. I’ll tell you all about it when I return!
Anyhoo, I told you a little about Sukkot last week when I made you Caramelized Onion and Dill Chicken Kreplach, but one recipe just isn’t enough.
Sukkot doesn’t have a specific food, like rainbow latkes on Hanukkah or Matzah Ball and Chicken Soup on Passover. But we do eat stuffed goodness to symbolize a plentiful harvest. And what is more classic than stuffed peppers? (That’s rhetorical, because nothing.)
Though typically with rice and meat in a tomato sauce (zzzz), I took inspiration from my recent trip to Israel when remixing this dish. (I have to write you a recap of Israel too. That’s coming soon!)
So quick Israel story. I was lucky to connect with my Internet turned real life friend Amy in Jerusalem. She offered to give us an impromptu tour of the famous Shuk (market), complete with tastes of tahini, halva, gooey rugelach, and a lunch of some of the best hummus I’ve ever had.
Just when I didn’t think I could take another bite, we passed a crowd of locals on a side street. We got closer, and realized they were in line, well, more of a huddle, for a shawarma cart. At only five shekels ($1.25), I suddenly had room for a few more bites. I pushed my way to the front, and thanks to Amy’s Hebrew I was able to secure a stuffed pita in no time.
In front of us there was seemingly endless toppings. And I chose all of them. Red cabbage? Yes. Pickles? Sure. Tahina? Definitely. The pita was hot, fresh from the oven, chicken complexly spiced and impossibly tender, topped with cooling Israeli salad and plenty of hot sauce. Can you almost taste it???
These stuffed peppers have all the flavors of that delicious shawarma, but can be made at home. You may want to double the chicken recipe and save some for sandwiches. It’s that good!
- For shawarma marinade:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. allspice
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. sumac
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. cracked black pepper
- For filling:
- 1 pound chicken, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1 cup dried bulgur
- 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ white onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 plum tomatoes (about ¼ cup), diced
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tbsp. tahini paste
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ¾ -1 cup chicken broth
- 6 large bell peppers
- For tahini sauce:
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ¼ tsp. salt or to taste
- Garnishes: pickles, red cabbage, beets, parsley etc.
- The night before cooking, coat chicken in olive oil in a medium bowl. Toss the marinade spices together in a separate medium bowl. Then toss chicken in spices. Cover bowl and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- You can also make your bulgur the night before. Bring two cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup bulgur, remove from heat and cover. Let bulgur absorb water for 20 minutes. Then drain off any remaining water and fluff with a fork.
- The next day, bring chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat a large sauté pan or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat. Then add diced onion, garlic, tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt and sauté while stirring until onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and bring heat to medium high heat. Sauté chicken (in batches if necessary; don’t overcrowd the pan) until cooked through and brown on the outside. Do not overcook.
- Combine bulgur, chicken and onion mixture in a large bowl. Make sure to scrape up all those tasty flavor bits from the pan and add those too!
- Add 1 tablespoon tahini paste, juice from 1 lemon, and enough chicken broth just to moisten everything. Adjust with salt to taste.
- Cut off the tops of the peppers and discard. Scrape out any seeds and veins inside. Scoop the filling evenly amongst the 6 peppers and place the peppers in a baking pan. Bake for 1 hour or until peppers are tender.
- While peppers are cooking, make tahini sauce by whisking together tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
- Let cooked peppers sit for 10 minutes before eating. Serve warm with tahini sauce and garnishes of your choice!
The original recipe appeared on The Jewish Week!