Pebrots Farcits Recipe From Paul Canales

This little pepper went to Spain

Opening a restaurant with a somewhat untranslatable name might cause panic in a new chef. Not Paul Canales, chef-owner of Duende in Oakland, California. In the Spanish language, duende is a feeling beyond definition, meaning something magical, spiritual and impactful. Canales brings that boldness to his menu, especially in these stuffed piquillo peppers. Canales calls on Basque, Catalan and Moorish influences when stuffing the finger-long roasted peppers with ground lamb, dried currants, toasted whole cumin and ground cinnamon. The combination casts a heady spell that we call "mighty tasty."

Recipe adapted from Paul Canales, Duende, Oakland

Pebrots Farcits (Catalan Stuffed Peppers)
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Pebrots Farcits (Catalan Stuffed Peppers) from Duende
Prep Time
Cook Time
stuffed peppers (about 4 servings)
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup canned diced tomatoes, drained (preferably without citric acid)
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 12 canned or jarred whole piquillo peppers, seeds carefully removed
  1. In a small skillet set over medium heat, add the cumin seeds and cook, shaking the pan often, until golden and toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the toasted cumin to a small plate.
  2. To a large skillet set over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onion, garlic and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions until they are tender and golden, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the tomatoes begin to caramelize and deepen in color, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir the ground lamb into the tomato mixture, using a wooden spoon to break up the lamb pieces. Cook, stirring often, until the lamb releases its moisture, turns opaque and begins to sizzle and brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and once well incorporated, stir in the toasted cumin seeds.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the lamb and stir to combine. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, for 2 minutes. Mix in the currants, then transfer the lamb mixture to a large bowl to cool, about 20 minutes.
  5. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and use the remaining ½ teaspoon of oil to lightly grease the foil. Use your fingers to gently stuff each pepper with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lamb mixture, then place the peppers on the prepared baking sheet. Broil until they begin to singe and color, 3 to 4 minutes (watch the peppers closely, as broiler intensities vary). Use a spatula to carefully turn the peppers over and brown the other side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and serve.
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