Sunday, 24 June 2007

Chicken Stuffed Capsicum

NAME: _Chicken Stuffed Capsicum

About three meaty chicken frames from making stock (see notes 1)
500ml strong chicken stock. (From the above, perhaps...)
half teaspoon turmeric
half teaspoon powdered fennel or assafoetida
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 small brown onion
1 clove garlic
1 parsnip
5 large red capsicums (or 4 large red capsicums and 1 large sweet chilli)
1 tablespoon of olive oil

I'll assume you've recently made chicken stock and have the frames reserved and about 200g - 300g of meat on them, otherwise you need to find around 200g - 300g of chicken meat and simmer it tender in about 500ml of the chicken stock. If you have the frames, pick the meat off and then dispose of the bones. Try and avoid sloppy bits and skin or fat, stick with lean meat. Pieces should be fairly small, nothing thicker than 0.5cm or longer than about 4cm, shred or cut if necessary.

Cut the onion into thin crescent wedges and place with oil into frypan and start heating. When onion starts going glassy add meat and the garlic clove (minced) and a bit of salt (about half a teaspoon) and fry over medium heat for up to ten minutes, when things should start to colour slightly. At this stage add the rice, the one red capsicum (or sweet chilli) trimmed seeded and cut into 1cm squares, add the turmeric and fennel, let all fry for another few minutes, stirring all the while, then add 1 - 2 cups of chicken stock. (Use the stock you poached the chicken in if you did that.) Bring to boil then reduce to a very slow simmer and leave for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally or use a simmer spacer to keep rice from burning. Use less to begin and add stock/water if the rice is not tender after 30 minutes.

Peel and grate the parsnip quite finely, add to the mixture, stir through, and remove from heat. Rice should have absorbed all liquid, if not simmer a bit longer.

Prepare capsicums by removing tops (which you trim to quite thin and retain) and scooping out, then either placing in oven at medium heat for 30 minutes or microwaving for 3 - 10 minutes to soften. You can do this while the stuffing mixture is simmering, save time.

Alternative: Cut capsicums in half lengthways and scoop out, trim the inside of the stalk end to quite thin, proceed as above.

When stuffing mixture has cooled enough to handle, fill each capsicum to the brim, place in a baking tray covered with foil or a lid and bake at medium heat (around 170) for an hour. If you cut the tops off, replace them before serving.

Serve as a full meal with something like steamed buttered garden vegetables and some nice sweet pickled gherkins or similar, or else as part of a larger meal. There are four meal sized capsicums if you just top them and eight side dish sized halves if you did the lengthways thing... Just sayin'...

Also - a few drops of some chilli such as harissa or Tabasco on top of each serving is delicious. Depends on tastes though.

1: I generally find a butcher that has chicken frames with a bit of meat still left on, and generally trim the thin stomach/chest wall skin away, then pick the best and most solid remnants of meat from around breast and thigh and neck. If your butcher leaves nothing on the frames then the bones aren't going to make much flavour either. One last thing, if your butcher's chickens are slow grown (i.e. free range and organic) then they will give a much better flavour.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Not noted, as this dish can vary considerably depending on the meat.
FATS:____ CARBS:____ FIBRE:____
Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.

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