Main Dish · Meat · Recipes · Vegetarian

Almost the weekend: Moroccan-inspired stuffed capsicums

It’s almost the long weekend (for some of us Australians here anyway) and I’ll be escaping the Parisian cold and chasing the Moroccan sun (did I mention my love for the place…?!).  Because I get a little OTT when purchasing food at the market (read: bulk) and because throwing food out makes me anxious, I needed to do some “pre-holiday-fridge-cleaning” before departing so as to not return to some sad-looking ingredients wishing they’d gone to a better home…  By chance, the items in my fridge needing immediate consumption married up perfectly to create a Moroccan inspired meal, and that’s how these little babies were born.  A ‘pre-Morocco-Moroccan-meal’… pfffffttt why not?!  Clearly the weekend has been on my subconscious mind for a while…

These stuffed capsicums are spicy, sweet, textured and fresh all at the same time.  They’re also super quick and easy to whip up (and healthy too!) and they keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.  If you’re vegetarian, swap the beef for chickpeas or beans (black or kidney) and you’re good to go.

Ingredients    IMG_1680
Stuffing
2 large brown onions
4 garlic cloves
1/4tsp salt
2TB oil
350g lean mince beef or lamb (or chickpeas/beans)
3TB tomato paste
1TB pomegranate molasses
1/4C currants
1/4C pinenuts
1C water
50g feta
1 1/2C pre-cooked couscous (or quinoa/ amaranth/rice)
1/2C chopped fresh parsley
1/2C chopped fresh coriander
6 capsicums (any colour will do, though red are sweeter)

Sauce    
1/2C passata
1/2C water
2TB olive oil

Spice mix 
1TB cumin
1TB coriander
1TB allspice
1TB cinnamon
1 cardamom pod
1/8tsp cloves
1/8tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp chilli flakes
1/2TB sweet paprika
1/4TB turmeric
1tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper

Yogurt sauce
1C greek yogurt
1/2tsp sweet paprika
2TB lemon juice
4 garlic cloves
1/4tsp salt

To serve
fresh pomegranate seeds
fresh chopped mint
lemon wedges

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 170°C (fan-forced). Slice the onions and add to medium-sized pot (which has a lid) with crushed garlic cloves, oil and salt. Caramalise over low heat (around 10-15mins) adding water if needed to prevent burning.
2. Combine spices (grind those that need it eg. cloves and cardamom). Add spice mix to pan, stirring constantly to avoid burning and cook until fragrant. Increase heat and add beef and tomato paste, frying until beef is browned. If vegetarian, brown tomato paste before adding beans).
3. Add pomegranate molasses, currants and 1C water. Cover, and let simmer over low heat for around 10-15mins. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, heat a small pan and toast pinenuts over low heat until fragrant and golden.
4. Once stuffing is cooled, stir in toasted pinenuts, coriander, parsley, couscous and 2/3 of the feta (crumbled).

IMG_1661       IMG_1668
5. Wash capsicums and cut about 2cm off the top (you want to maintain these so remember which top belongs to which body!). Remove membrane and seeds.
6. Select a baking dish which snugly fits the 6 capsicums. Drizzle base with 1TB of olive oil, wedge in 4 remaining garlic cloves (to be used for yogurt sauce), passata and 1/2C water. Arrange capsicums and fill with stuffing. Crumble remaining feta, place tops back on and drizzle capsicums with remaining olive oil. Cover with lid (or tightly wrapped aluminium foil) and bake for 30-45mins. Remove lid and bake, uncovered, for a further 15mins (total bake time is 45-60mins). Remember the meat and couscous is cooked, so cooking time depends on how “soft” you like your capsicums…
7. To make yogurt sauce, mash up roasted garlic cloves (those which were in the base of the capsicum baking dish) and combine with remaining yogurt sauce ingredients.
8. Serve capsicums with yogurt sauce, pomegranate seeds, fresh mint and lemon.

 

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