4 large red peppers, tops sliced off, seeds removed
For the sauce
2 tbsp butter
splash olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes (or 400g tin chopped tomatoes), peeled and grated
100g/3½oz crème fraîche or thick double cream
200ml/7fl oz vegetable stock
sprinkle sugar (optional)
salt and ground white pepper
chopped fresh parsley and dill, to garnish
To make the filling, cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain well and leave to cool. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium–low heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened and slightly golden. Stir in the rice, sweetcorn, apple and thyme. Season generously with salt and pepper – the filling should be very well seasoned, almost on the verge of being slightly over seasoned as it will also season the peppers too.
To make the sauce, heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until it softens and starts to turn golden. Add the garlic, turn down the heat to low and cook gently for about 3–5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Whisk the crème fraîche and stock, then pour into the pan and stir in well. Season with salt, pepper and sugar, if preferred.
To make the peppers, preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Stuff the peppers with the filling. Pour half the sauce into a baking dish that will snugly hold the peppers. Sit them upright in the dish, then pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until cooked through. Garnish with parsley and dill and serve immediately with yoghurt on the side.
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