I popped to the supermarket last week, as I do pretty much every day here in Italy, and found quite possibly the worlds largest peppers – honestly they were bigger than my head! I had to buy them and do something with them, so then I thought, why not stuff them with a whole load of goodness!
In the past, I normally combine mince meat, vegetables and bulgar wheat, but over here I simply used basmati rice which worked a treat! The beauty with this dish is that it is so versatile and you can change the ingredients and spices so easily to suit people’s tastebuds! This time round, I kept it [mostly] Italian, combining black olives, oregano and tomato paste and topping it with mozzarella and breadcrumbs for that extra bit of texture.
Serves: 6-8 people
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Ingredients 1 Medium white onion, diced 2 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped 1 Medium courgette, quartered, thinly sliced 450g Mix mincemeat (beef/pork) 250g Black olives, roughly chopped 2 Tsp Oregano 1 Tsp Cumin seeds 1 Tbsp Tomato paste 500ml Beef stock 1/2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce 4 Tbsp Olive oil 1 Tbsp Salt 1 Tsp Pepper 1 Cup Basmati rice, rinsed 1 Small bunch fresh parsley, chopped 4 Large Peppers (or 8 small peppers), halved length ways, deseeded 4 Mozzarella balls 8-10 Tbsps Breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 200℃ /180℃ Fan.
In a large pan, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil on a medium heat. Add onions and sweat for around 10 minutes until almost translucent.
Add garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds before adding the courgette. Leave to cook for around 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
Move the mix to one side and add the mince meat and break it up with the back of your wooden spoon. Leave it to fry for a few minutes until most of the meat is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper and then combine with the vegetables.
Add oregano, cumin seeds and tomato paste. Stir the paste so all the meat is coated and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes.
Pour in the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with the lid slightly ajar.
Meanwhile, place the rinsed rice in a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and 2 cups of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Take off the heat but leave the lid on so it continues to steam for a further 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
At this point, the mince should be more or less done, you want a little bit of stock to remain, turn off the heat, stir in the rice and sprinkle in the chopped parsley. Set aside.
Place your halved peppers cut side down into an over dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove and increase the heat to 230℃/ 210℃ Fan. Carefully flip the peppers over and spoon in the rice-mince mix. Place the mozzarella on top, cover with breadcrumbs and drizzle a little olive oil on the top.
Put the peppers back in the oven until the mozzarella has melted and the breadcrumbs are nice and golden – around 20-25 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad or devour on their own.