Gilligan's Gourmet: Stuffed Vegetarian Peppers


The Gilligan family made it home safe after 2 weeks in Jamaica, the sad thing about the trip was that we missed our good friends Joe and Leah’s wedding a week ago and also Darragh and Jessie’s nuptials last Friday both in New York. Sorry guys but you should have told me sooner…

I see that the Pope is in England and on Sunday he landed at the Birmingham City training ground in his helicopter t a ready-made landing pad only 5 minutes away from Cofton Park where he was to say a mass. The helipad was left over from the previous owner’s regime of Gold and Sullivan. Blues have a little bit of interesting history when it comes to Popes as they are the only team who didn’t win a game in the reign of a Pope! {John Paul 1st}

Well then, I am back to work and this week we have a big holiday coming up in the Jewish calendar which is big in both Miami and the New York area, and that is Sukkot.

A Sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. It is topped with branches and often well decorated with autumnal, harvest or Judaic themes. The Book of Leviticus describes it as a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating the time God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness they inhabited after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is common for Jews to eat, sleep and otherwise spend time in the sukkah.

Sukkot the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths celebrates the autumn harvest; a similarity to the Thanksgiving holiday observed in the United States which is not coincidental.

Prior to making their way to the New World, the Pilgrims, themselves the victims of religious persecution, spent several years among Sephardic Jews in Holland. When they later celebrated the legendary first Thanksgiving, their conscious frame of reference was Sukkot.

Any dish incorporating the harvest of one’s own region is appropriate for Sukkot, but particularly those which feature a number of ingredients within, like stuffed vegetables, fruits, and main-dish pies -- miniature cornucopia symbolizing the plenty with which we have been blessed and for which we hope throughout the coming New Year.

This concept is seen in the Ashkenazic tradition of serving kreplach or stuffed cabbage during this holiday and the Sephardic tradition of serving couscous, with its accompanying variety of vegetables and toppings.

In cooler climates, baked casseroles or hearty one-pot meals are especially favored, since it is convenient to ferry them to the sukkah, the temporary hut constructed to symbolize the wanderings in the desert by the Children of Israel and in which as many meals as possible are eaten during the eight-day holiday (one week in Israel). According to the Talmud, the table should be decorated with pomegranates, themselves a symbol of plenty, and flasks of wine.


I've seen lots of recipes for vegetables stuffed with rice, but, for me, the option of stuffing the peppers with bulgur was a fresh take on a dish that's perfect for Sukkot.

Serves 8


8 bell peppers (in the color of your choice but it looks cool if you mix them)
2 onions, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped (Note: separate white and green parts)
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup rice or bulgur
2 cups water
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup currants
3 Tablespoons each fresh mint and dill, minced
½ teaspoon cinnamon
salt to taste


Cut and save 1 inch off stem end of peppers, removing and discarding white membranes from inside peppers.
Set hollowed peppers aside.

Sauté the onions in oil slowly until translucent and golden brown. (This may take as long as 20-30 minutes when done very slowly.)

When the onions are about 5-8 minutes away from being finished, add pine nuts and white part of the spring onions to the sauté pan. Continue sautéing. Add rice or bulgur.

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add remaining ingredients. Raise the heat to bring liquid to a boil, cover pan and reduce heat to a simmer.  Continue cooking until liquid is absorbed.

Fill each pepper with about 1/2 cup rice mixture and top with reserved caps.

Place peppers upright in oiled 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Cover with oiled foil and bake until peppers are tender, about 50-60 minutes.


An observant Jew, who lived on Park Avenue, built a Sukkah on his balcony.

Some of his 'high society' non-Jewish neighbors brought him to court.

They claimed that the Sukkah on his balcony was an eyesore and was having a negative impact on the value of their homes in this posh neighborhood.

In court, the man was very worried about the outcome. It was the eve of the eight-day holiday,leaving him no time to make alternative arrangements, in case the judge ordered him to take down the Sukkah.

He prayed for help. And Hashem listened.

Judge Ginsburg, who was Jewish himself, had a reputation of being a very wise man. After hearing both sides, he turned around to the observant Jew and scolded him:

"Don't you realize that you live on Park Avenue, and not in Brooklyn? There is a certain decorum which is expected on Park Avenue. You have no right to be putting up an ugly hut on this lovely street without a building permit authorizing it. I hereby rule that either you remove the hut, or I will fine you one thousand dollars.

You have exactly eight days to do so! Next case!"