Kosovo, Europe’s newest country, in the heart of the Balkans. After years and years of war, it is finally perfectly safe to travel to this stunning underrated destination! With its charming mountain villages and 13th-century monasteries.
While a lot of countries recognize Kosovo there are still some that don’t. The country has been the recipient of massive aid from the international community, particularly the EU and NATO, which effectively keeps the peace between the ethnic Albanian majority and the minority Serbs. Barbs of its past are impossible to miss, however: roads are dotted with memorials to those killed in 1999, while NATO forces stillguard Serbian monasteries.
Things you didn’t know about Kosovo:
- Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are local heroes. There are streets and children named after them, not to mention a Clinton statue. So if you’re looking for a different view on the world, Kosovo will spin new perspectives. The NATO support in the liberation of the Albanian population from the oppressive regime of Slobodan Milošević was regarded as the most successful example of western intervention in recent history. This means Brits, Americans and others are welcomed with open armed gratitude. Be prepared; it’s highly likely you’ll be thanked personally.
- Because tourism in Kosovo is only just beginning, that means prices are seriously undervalued. Accommodations in Kosovo offer great value. You can stay in a massive suite at the nicest hotel in the entire country for less than the price of an average hotel in an American city. A cup of coffee costs between fifty cents to one euro depending on the café. A traditional meal can be had for as little as €1.50, while a bottle of beer is around €1.
- The majority of the population of Kosova is under the age of 30.
This dish might not specifically be from Kosovo but rather from the region. But it’s got all the right flavours and spices that they use. For me ticks all the boxes of comfort food! I was a little worried about the rice not cooking inside the bell peppers, but it worked like a charm, the rice got perfectly cooked and the spice of the harissa paste gave it a lovely kick!!!
- 6 large bell peppers
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 shallots
- 2 small poblano peppers
- 1 1/2 tablespoon allspice
- 1/4 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1/4 ground coriander
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Lamb Mince
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cup short grain rice
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- Harissa paste (if you like it spicy add about a tablespoon, if not less)
- Cut around the stem of each bell pepper to form a lid for the stuffed pepper. Pull out the stems and set aside, then remove and discard the seeds and cores from the inside of the peppers.
- In a medium skillet heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots and poblano pepper until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add all the ground spices and continue to saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped meat an stir. Cook until the meat turns brown and there are no traces of pink, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with the dill, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Next, add the tomato paste; stir and turn off the heat. Add the rice to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Use a spoon to stuff each pepper with the meat and rice mixture until it is about three-quarters full, making sure the rice has room to expand. Cap each pepper with the reserved stem.
- Arrange the pepper snugly in a dutch oven or heavy ovenproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid. The stuffed peppers can be cooked on the cooktop or in the oven. If baking, preheat the oven to 204 C or 400F
- Combine the can of crushed tomatoes with 4 cups of water and harissapaste, add some salt. and pour over and around the bell peppers
- If cooking the peppers on the cooktop place the pot over high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the rice is cooked. If using the oven cover and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- To serve, lift the peppers out of the pot leaving behind the sauce, then arrange them in a large serving bowl. Carefully slice the peppers down the middle and ladle the sauce over the stuffing.