Feta-stuffed peppers or piperies me feta. You had me at “feta”! What’s not to love about this special, rich, salty Greek cheese? Everything is better when mixed with cheese, but when it comes to feta, there is 50% chance of success. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am not a big fan of feta; I only acknowledge the fact that feta can overpower every taste and put all other ingredients on the side.This is not the case with this authentic Greek feta-stuffed peppers recipe.
Peppers are by nature sweet and crunchy fruits (believe it or not, peppers are a fruit) and their flavor varies depending on their color. The redder the color, the sweeter the flavor! Also, although peppers belong to the Capsicum species, they do not produce capsaicin, the chemical that causes the distinct spiciness.
For this traditional recipe, I used Florina peppers. This kind of pepper, cultivated in Florina, Northern Greece, is exquisite and the best kind of ingredient to stuff with cheese. Florina peppers are incredibly sweet, especially when roasted. As many other ingredients, this pepper arrived in Macedonia, Greece back in the 17th century, a century after Christopher Columbus had brought the exotic fruit in Europe. Many regions of Western Macedonia tried to cultivate this unique seed, but it only flourished in Florina. Until today, they are considered one of the top delicacies of the region and are wildly sold in jars, filled with brine, or even as glyko tou koutaliou (sweet preserve).
If you are a big pepper fan, the best way to enjoy them is to fill them with cheese and roast them until really tender. I’ve noticed that during the roasting process, this type of peppers develops a unique sweet taste that blends exquisitely with salty cheeses, like feta. For the filling, I use feta and soft cheese, so it can melt while preserving the authentic feta character. You could substitute Florina peppers for red bell peppers or long Romano peppers, but never any other kind (jalapeño, anyone?!), unless you want to serve it to someone you are not that fond of.
In northern Greece, this authentic recipe is a very popular starter or meze. Use good quality feta cheese, virgin olive oil, and herbs, and you got yourself a great Greek meze. I always make this traditional stuffed peppers recipe for dinner with friends and especially during the winter. If you finish off your dinner with portokalopita, you’ve thrown a proper Greek feast!