Palneni Chushki is a favorite for family dinners or as a main course at the festive table in Bulgaria. This tasty dish consists of fresh bell peppers that are stuffed with ground meat, rice, and vegetables baked to perfection in the oven.
In today’s post, I’ll show you an authentic recipe for this iconic Bulgarian treat. If you’re hosting a family reunion or party, don’t hesitate to give Palneni Chushki a try. I’m sure that everyone will be impressed with these yummy stuffed peppers.
What Is Palneni Chushki?
Stuffed peppers are a dinner staple worldwide, with many countries boasting their own versions. However, what distinguishes the Bulgarian variety from all the others is the addition of dried savory, which is the main spice for numerous Bulgarian delicacies.
The peppers used in the recipe can be green or yellow, but red peppers are the sweetest, so they are more suitable. After being baked in the oven, they acquire an irresistible smoky taste. Together with the meaty filling, they become an incredible combination of flavors!
In Bulgaria, the locals also prepare other variations of stuffed peppers, combining different sets of ingredients. The peppers can be fresh or dried and stuffed with beans, rice, or raisins. That said, these varieties are mostly enjoyed on Christmas Eve when all the dishes on the table must be vegetarian-friendly.
Here are the tools you should prepare to make this Palneni Chushki recipe a success.
- Medium baking pan/tray: For baking the stuffed peppers.
- Large pan: For cooking the filling on the stovetop.
- Kitchen turner: For stirring the ingredients while cooking them in the pan.
- Small bowl (optional): A helper when removing the seeds from the peppers.
- Knife and cutting board: Help you finely chop the vegetables.
- Teaspoon: For spooning the filling into the peppers.
Having the right ingredients is important for making your Palneni Chushki taste like how people cook it in Bulgaria. Prepare the following ingredients.
- Minced meat: You can use pork or beef mince or a mixture of both. In Bulgaria, minced pork is more common, so opt for this option if you want the taste to be more authentic.
- Bell peppers: You can use green, yellow, orange, or red peppers. But I recommend red peppers, as they are sweeter and are the traditional choice in Bulgaria.
- Rice: Use white rice, washing it beforehand and draining it well.
- Vegetables: Suitable vegetables for this recipe are onion, carrot, and tomato. Finely chop the onions and carrots and grind the tomato in advance. You can also use canned tomatoes to save time.
- Dried Savory (summer savory): A main spice in many Bulgarian dishes. Savory is an annual plant that is grown in the garden and is picked and dried when it flowers. The dried petals and flowers are plucked from the stem and used as a spice for various dishes.
- Oil: I used olive oil in this recipe, but sunflower oil is also suitable. You will need oil to prepare the filling for the peppers, as well as when baking the peppers in a baking tray.
- Salt and black pepper: Use salt and ground black pepper to flavor the meal.
- Parsley: This is another common spice, along with dried savory, with which Bulgarians flavor their dishes.
- Water: You will need about 3 cups of water to cook the rice in the stovetop pan and a little more to cover the bottom of the baking tray.
- Serving: People in Bulgaria usually serve this dish with a few spoonfuls of yogurt added to the stuffed peppers on the plate. Go for Bulgarian yogurt if possible.
Here is an easy-to-follow guide for making delicious Palneni Chushki at home!
Heat up your stovetop pan with 2/3 of the oil on medium heat. Sauté the finely chopped onion and carrot in oil for about 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant.
Add the minced meat to the pan, breaking it up with a kitchen turner as it cooks. Continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it changes color.
Add the salt, ground black pepper, and dried savory and stir. Then add the washed and drained rice and stir again. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes and stir. Then start adding the water, stirring regularly.
First, add 1 ½ cups of water and stir. After the rice absorbs the water, add the next 1 ½ cups of water, stirring regularly. Once the rice has fully soaked up the water, it should be soft. At this point, the filling is ready, and you can take it off the stove.
Add the finely chopped parsley and stir. Leave the pepper filling aside to cool.
Pour the rest of the oil and water into the baking tray so that they cover the bottom of the tray. If necessary, add more water. It is important that the bottom of the baking tray remains covered with water during baking.
Cut off the top of the pepper with the stalk (pepper cap), as shown in the image. Remove the seeds from the pepper and cover it with the cap. Repeat this for the remaining peppers.
After you have removed all seeds from the peppers, stuff the peppers with the filling using a teaspoon, then put the cap back. Avoid overfilling them.
Sprinkle some oil and salt on the peppers and bake them in the oven at 356 degrees F for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
After removing them from the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes. You can serve the peppers with a few spoons of yogurt. Enjoy!
Making Bulgarian-style stuffed peppers can be a bit tricky for first-timers. But don’t worry. The tips and tricks in this section will help solve all your problems.
- If you prepare the minced meat yourself, the pork shoulder is the most suitable cut. If you want the meat to be a little fattier, you can also add pork breast.
- If you want the taste to be authentic, it is best to use dried savory. But if there is no shop for Bulgarian products nearby, you can replace it with dry oregano and a little dry thyme.
- Smoked paprika is also a great spice to add to the filling. Don’t use sweet paprika, though.
- You can try making the filling with fish, poultry, or any kind of protein you want to switch up the flavor.
While there are many ways to make stuffed bell peppers, the Bulgarian-style version is undoubtedly my all-time favorite. The fresh, slightly smoky taste of baked peppers combines beautifully with the meaty and starchy filling, turning this dish into a true delight.
What do you think about Palneni Chushki? Will you try this recipe for your next dinner? I’ll eagerly wait for your answers, so feel free to leave a comment below. Besides, if you find today’s recipe enjoyable, don’t hesitate to like and share it so more people can experience this Bulgarian delicacy.
8 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories369
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 1.3g 5%
- Sodium 647mg 27%
- Potassium 529mg 16%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 4.4g 16%
- Sugars 13.3g
- Protein 18.6g 36%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Table of Contents
- What Is Palneni Chushki?
- Tips And Tricks
- Experience The Flavor Of Bulgarian Cuisine
- Palneni Chushki – Bulgarian Stuffed Peppers
- Nutrition Facts