Thursday, 7 November 2013

Stuffed Capsicum Rebooted

NAME: _Stuffed Capsicum Reboot

3 or four large capsicums
250g beef mince
250g cooked rice
1 medium brown onion
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbsp beef dripping
1 tsp salt
additional salt to sprinkle
1 mediterranean red chilli
1/2 cup chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
juice of one lemon
about 50g goat cheese
(optional) another 100g goat cheese.

Dice the onion finely, add to frying pan along with the beef dripping and beef. Clean and finely chop the chilli, and when meat and onions have definitely browned in the pan, add the chilli, salt, cooked rice, chopped sage, and chop and add half the mint leaves, retaining the rest for garnish. Fry for about two more minutes then turn off the heat, add the stock, stir well, and set aside.

Cut capsicums in half lengthways and clean, remove the stems seeds and internal soft walls. Press out flat with the palm of the hand, then sprinkle lightly with salt on the flesh side. Now roast the capsicum halves over a flame such as the gas burner, until it begins to blacken in spots and starts smelling sweet.

Lay the roasted capsicum in the bottom of a casserole or other oven proof dish, and microwave on high for three minutes, then spoon over half the meat and rice mixture. Break up the goat cheese into fingernail sized lumps and scatter these over the mixture, then add the remaining meat and rice in a flat layer. At this point, if desired, crumble the optional goat cheese over the surface.

Sprinkle the lemon juice over and place in oven at 180C for about 45 minutes, until the surface begins to brown.

Serve hot or cold, garnished with remaining mint leaves.

I made this because I wanted to re-imagine the humble mezze of stuffed capsicum. Mezzes in the Mediterranean are made to eat hot or cold, and consisted of the ingredients to hand. Not limited to stuffed tomatoes and capsicums, either, mezzes are a convenience food of sorts, and served at any time as a starter, breakfast, or lunch, and consist of a whole range of snack-sized foods. We eat stuffed capsicums as a whole main meal, and I've often had disliked the way capsicums cook unevenly, fillings tend to get drowned in juices, and the fact that to me it is a snack and it looks wrong served as a main. The rebooted version takes away those perception problems I have with the dish.


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