Albanians know a thing or two about community living. My husband and I live in a small apartment above our landlord, who currently has about seven family members living in a two-person space.

Though it’s hard for me to adopt the Albanian way of living, I have no trouble adapting to their way of eating. 

When we told him that my husband’s parents would be coming to Kosovo for several months, he was shocked that they wanted to get a separate apartment. We shrugged and told him it’s an American thing; we like personal space. Our landlord shook his head.

Though it’s hard for me to adopt the Albanian way of living, I have no trouble adapting to their way of eating. Meals are often served family style, with a big skillet of peppers and cream for the table to share.

What I love about this dish is that it forces us to gather in close. We break bread together and dip it into the peppers, leaning in so we won’t drop a single bite. It reminds me that sometimes we need to get in each other’s space, to pray with and admonish, to grieve with and encourage.

It’s a simple dish, with a simple idea. But don’t let that fool you—it’s addictive!

Albanian Peppers and Cream

Albanian Peppers and Cream - speca me mos

By Elizabeth Steere Published: August 30, 2013

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Ready In: 45 mins

Albanian Meals are often served family style, with a big skillet of peppers and cream for the table to share.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place whole peppers in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Turn the peppers occasionally and press into the pan with your fingers or a spatula until all sides are seared. Flatter, less-curved peppers make this easier. The skin will pop and turn brown and may flake off a little. Locals tend to scrape off the browned skin, but I usually keep it.
  2. Once the peppers have sear marks all around, add sour cream to the pan and stir. Crumble the feta and mix into the cream, breaking up any big lumps. Add salt to taste. Spoon the cream over the peppers, covering them as much as possible.
  3. Turn down heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. At this point, your peppers should be soft enough to break apart with a spatula. If you plan to eat family style, you should cut the peppers into bite sized pieces. Alternatively, you can serve one whole pepper to each person.
  5. Serve with fresh bread—pita or French would work nicely—for dipping. To make a meal of it, add a shope salad: tomato and cucumber tossed with feta.

Photo graciously provided by Miranda Basinger

Elizabeth Steere
is a writer and missionary, most recently working in Kosovo and Southern France. She loves cooking, traveling, empowering women, and seeing the upside-down Kingdom of God come to earth.