Stuffed Halloween capsicums
This is an edited extract from Chyka Celebrates by Chyka Keebaugh, published by Hardie Grant Books, $40 and is available where all good books are sold. Photographer: © Commission Studio.
- 6 yellow capsicums
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 225g lean minced beef
- 1 onion, ﬁnely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, ﬁnely diced
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and ﬁnely diced
- Chilli ﬂakes, to taste
- 185g (1 cup) cooked mixed long-grain and wild rice
- 185g (1½ cups) grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cut the tops off the capsicums and set aside (do not discard). Remove all the seeds and membranes from inside the capsicums, then rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Use a small paring knife to carve jack-o-lantern faces into each capsicum. If the capsicums don’t stand upright, use the knife to slice a small amount off the bottom to ﬂatten the surface.
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and fry for 8-10 minutes, breaking up the lumps with the back of a spoon, until the meat is cooked through and just beginning to brown. Transfer the meat to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess fat.
Wipe out the frying pan and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and zucchini and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and a pinch or two of chilli ﬂakes. Continue cooking until everything is heated through, then stir in the beef and the cooked rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then stir in 125g (1 cup) of the cheese.
Fill the capsicums with the rice and beef mixture and top each with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Lastly, close with the reserved capsicum tops. Transfer to a baking dish and pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the dish. Drizzle the capsicums with olive oil. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the peppers are starting to soften and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.