Here is a wonderful recipe from John Gregory-Smith’s colourful new book featuring the most-loved recipes from Lebanon, Saffron in the Souks (Kyle Books). For thousands of years, the people of this fabled region have prepared delicious, nuanced foods, unique dishes enjoyed the world over. John travelled the length and breadth of the country to bring back the very best of Lebanese cuisine. Here is just one of his great discoveries!

John Gregory-Smith Photo: Alan Keohane

This recipe is a play on my friend Rima Khodr’s signature dish, horr osbaa. The original recipe isa brilliant brown stew made with lentils, garlic and a generous amount of pomegranate molasses. Traditionally this would be carb’ed up with tiny pasta-like dumplings that mellow in the stew, but to give it a more modern feel she uses orzo. I loved the dish and have used all the flavours and ingredients to make my stuffed peppers. They look beautiful and the vibrant green corianderdressing makes everything pop even more.

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 large or 4 small red peppers, halved

4 tablespoons olive oil

120g orzo

300g tin green lentils, drained

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons pomegranate

molasses

120g cherry tomatoes, halved

60g feta

½ garlic clove

a handful of roughly choppedcoriander leaves and stalks

juice of ½ lemon

15g toasted pine nuts

sea salt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Put the peppersin a roasting dish and rub 2 tablespoons of the oil all over them. Season with salt and roast for 40–45 minutes until golden and tender. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, drop the orzo into a pan of boiling water. Stir wellto stop it sticking and cook for 6–8 minutes until tender but still with a little bite. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain again and tip into a mixing bowl. Add the lentils, spring onions, pomegranate molasses and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and mix well. Stuff the cooked peppers with the mix and spoon the remaining orzo around them. Arrange the cherry tomatoes and feta over the top.

3. Bash the garlic with a little salt into a paste. Add the coriander and bash again into a paste. Add the lemon juice, remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix into a dressing and drizzle over the stuffed peppers. Scatter over the pine nuts and serve immediately.

 

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