I’ve been having a very busy few weeks, so apologies for my lack of recipes to inspire, it’s all been a bit full-on and I haven’t had much of a chance to get creative in the kitchen.
However, the good news is that I think this recipe is totally worth waiting for.
I wanted something I could prepare ahead and would have lots of vegetables in, a rich herby taste and good texture. You can make the mince ahead, the day before even, and give the flavours a chance to develop.
This mixture will fill four decent-sized peppers, possibly with a bit left over. Serve it on the side if it won’t fit or save it for the next day. It’s really good on toast.
Makes 4 stuffed peppers
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsps olive oil
1 red chilli, chopped
250g lean minced lamb
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp harissa paste
1 tbsp ketchup
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
200ml red wine
2 good handfuls of mint
1 400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed
2 red peppers
2 yellow or orange peppers
To make the mince
Fry the onion, garlic and cumin in 2 tbsps of the olive oil until softened and aromatic. Add the chopped chilli and mix through. Add the mince and cook until browned
Then add the harissa paste, ketchup, tomatoes, red wine and water. Stir well.
Add the fresh mint, simply tearing off the leaves – putting a couple of leaves for each pepper aside. Bring up to a slow simmer and leave on low for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and rest for at least an hour.
Heat the oven to 180C.
To prepare your peppers, carefully slice the tops off. Slide a sharp knife inside and remove the seeds and membranes.
Just before stuffing the peppers stir the butter beans through the mince.
Spoon the mince mix into the peppers, top with a couple of mint leaves, and replace the tops of the peppers. Pour the third tablespoon of oil into the dish. and place the peppers inside.
Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes until starting to blacken and bubbling inside.
I served it with one of my all-time classic favourites, Caesar salad. Simply delicious!
My top tips
Experiment with the filling. You could use different herbs, like oregano or rosemary. Or add different vegetables like courgettes or aubergines.
When buying the peppers try to find ones that are a decent size and also have relatively flat bottoms, so they don’t fall over once you’ve stuffed them and put them in the dish.
When cooking the mince, keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it’s looking a bit dry, add more water. It should always be a moist consistency, though not too liquid.
Vegetarians can simply leave the lamb out and stuff with even more vegetables and herbs of their choice. Be creative.
Thanks to the lovely people at Ville & Campange for the beautiful placemat which provides the background for the dish. It’s from their new range of summer placemats. I totally love this zesty green. You can find out more at www.villeetcampagne.co.uk