Middle Eastern Peppers with Minced Lamb, Mint & Orzo

So rich in flavours, with a great combination of middle eastern spices. A real treat.
Although very simple, the dish can become part of a very elegant affair.
This is what the preparation looks like when put together.
The base is very similar to a spaghetti sauce, except for the addition of middle eastern spices fresh mint and parsley

INGREDIENTS – Serves 4
4 Red Peppers – Cut in half, lengthwise, keeping the stem so the pepper can keep its shape and hold the filling.
2 Teaspoons of Olive Oil
For the Sauce
500 Gr. Minced lamb meat
3 Garlic cloves finely minced
1 Large onion chopped
1 Can of chopped tomato
1 Large Teaspoon ground Allspice
1 Large Teaspoon ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Chilli pepper – I use Kashmir Chilli pepper, which is not so hot
Handful of fresh Mint leaves
Handful of fresh Parsley leaves
115 Gr. Orzo
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

METHOD
Preheat your oven at 225 Celsius – Prepare the red peppers by cutting them in half, keeping the stem so the caspicums can hold their shape while baking.
Clean the peppers and remove the seeds and white membrane.
Pour a little bit of olive oil in each half pepper and salt to taste.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
This step is not mandatory, but it cooks the peppers to perfection and I find it makes them a little sweeter.
First, cook the Orzo in boiling water to which you add a good teaspoon of salt. Cook the Orzo for just 5 minutes, as it should still be al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven for the final baking.
When it is cooked, drain the pasta, but keep the cooking liquid as it will be used to complete the tomato sauce.
In a heavy base saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the lamb meat, leaving it for a few minutes, so it has a chance to caramelize and brown. When the meat is halfway cooked, set aside and saute the onion and garlic until they start to brown on the sides.
Add the meat back in, stir in the can of chopped tomatoes, a cup of the pasta cooking liquid, the allspice, cumin and chilli pepper. Salt & Pepper to taste and cook the sauce for about 15 minutes, so it has a chance to thicken.
When cooked, add the Orzo pasta, the parsley and mint leaves. Give it a good mix.
Stuff each half pepper with the mixture, so it almost overflows.
Bake the peppers on a tray covered with parchment paper in your oven for another 20 minutes.

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