I love stuffed grape leaves – when someone else makes them. Unfortunately, they’re usually heavy with olive oil and I preder mine studded with brown rice rather than white. So dolmade-stuffed peppers was born!
In a large sauce pan, sauté the onion, fennel, and garlic over medium heat in water or broth for about 10 minutes. Add the pine nuts and rice and stir, then add one cup vegetable broth.
Simmer the rice for 20 to 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Put this mixture into a large bowl and stir in the raisins, olives, and mint leaves, dillweed, salt and pepper. Set aside until cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When the rice mixture is cool enough to handle, fill each pepper with some filling, using a small spoon. Place the peppers tightly together in a large oven-safe casserole dish. Pour the remaining one cup of the vegetable broth almong with the lemon juice into the casserole dish. The liquid should come nearly halfway up the peppers. Cover the dish and bake the peppers for about one hour, or until the peppers are very tender and the rice is cooked through.
To make the sauce, put all of the ingredients in a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth – 30 seconds to one minute. Pour into a small saucepan and warm gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken as it warms, so you may need to add more vegetable broth or water.
Serve the sauce alongside the stuffed peppers.
These would make a delicious appetizer for a party.
Use about 6 large bell peppers in place of the baby bells.