Recipe: Ella’s Stuffed Capsicums



Everyone loves the exotic dishes of Turkey and Greece and no one does them better than Ella Mittas. He new book Ela! Ela! (Murdoch Books) is a wonderful adventure in food, culture and belonging. Ela! Ela! (meaning ‘Come, come’ in Greek) sees the writer and pop-up chef sharing a collection of food writing and personal essays, which speak to the origins and evolutions of some of her most iconic dishes. The recipes are fabulous. Here we give you a chance to try out her delicious Stuffed Capsicums, or Gemista – you’ll love it!

This is the best method I’ve devised for making sure the filling of these capsicums is seasoned properly. Make sure your stock mix is quite bright from the lemon, and salty enough, or the rice will be flavourless. This rice filling can also be used to stuff dolmades. I soak my rice for a couple of hours before I use it, then drain it.  is helps to keep the cooking time down.


Chef and author Ella Mittas              Photo: Jessica Grilli


Serves 5 as a light meal


6 red capsicums (peppers)

For the filling:

1 large red onion, diced

1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)

1 x 400 g (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes

250 g (9 oz) arborio rice

50 g (1 3⁄4 oz) pine nuts, toasted

40 g (1 1⁄2 oz) currants

1 cup (40–60 g) chopped mixed dill, mint and parsley

1 tbsp dried mint

For the stock mix:

400 ml (14 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock

2 lemons, juiced

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

flaked salt to taste

To serve:

300 g (10 1⁄2 oz) Greek yoghurt

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

flaked salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Cut the top off each capsicum and clean out the stem, seeds and pith. Keep the top of the capsicum; you’ll need it for the cooking process.
  3. For the filling: sauté the onion in a frypan with 1 tablespoon of oil until translucent, then add in the tomato paste and briefly fry off.
  4. Add in the can of tomatoes and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the filling ingredients. Stuff this mixture inside the capsicums. You want them to be relatively full, but keep in mind that the rice will swell once cooked.
  6. For the stock mix: heat your stock in a separate saucepan and season it with lemon, salt and olive oil. The seasoning of this is integral as it will flavour the whole dish.
  7. Arrange the capsicums in a baking dish, pour stock inside each one and pop on their lids.
  8. Cover tightly with baking paper, then foil, and bake for 30 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the stock and is cooked through. Continue to add liquid during the baking process if they need it.
  9. Remove the foil and baking paper and bake for 20 minutes more or until the capsicums are soft and browned on top, and the rice is cooked through.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt, garlic and salt until smooth, then set aside. Once the capsicums are done, leave them to rest until cooled, then serve with a spoonful of yoghurt.



Images and text from Ela! Ela! By Ella Mittas, photography by Ella Mittas. Author image by Jessica Grilli. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

One thought on “Recipe: Ella’s Stuffed Capsicums

  1. OMG can’t wait to cook these stuffed capsicums. Just bought a huge bag to take to our shack in East Augusta to feed the masses for lunch. Yum

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