When it comes to food, I always have a plan. Before I go to sleep at night, I can probably tell you what all of my meals for the next 2 days are. On weekends I menu plan and shop according to my week, when having people over I have a ‘running sheet’ so that can have all the prep done and I know what has to be cooked when. But my absolute favourite form of food planning is freezing.
The freezer is probably one of my best friends in the kitchen. I always have a half a kilo of grass fed beef mince on hand, minimum two serves of homemade chicken soup (recipe to come) and some sort of made in bulk frozen meal in individual serves. There is nothing worse than getting home late from work in a dazed and confused state and then having to cook. Which inevitably turns into some sort of food rage, I don’t enjoy what I cook and as a consequence don’t enjoy my food as much. Having dinners ready in the freezer means you take it out in the morning, come home and reheat something delicious and nutritious.
My latest invention and introduction to the defrosted dinner rotation is these stuffed capsicums. This recipe is inspired by Karen Martini’s Spiced Lamb Pastries (she is my all time favourite chef). I have adapted the spice mix, added a few ingredients and turned it into a gluten and grain free tasty meal.
I normally make the full amount below and then once cooled I pop each half into a freezer bag. This recipe can easily be adapted to be FODMAP or lactose free. Please see my notes at the end of the recipe.
Spiced Stuffed Capsicum
Makes 8 halves – 8 lady serves, 4 hungry boy serves
Knob of butter
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons of sumac
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of ras el hout spice mix (I normally buy as opposed to make)
4 medium sized red capiscums
100 grams of pinenuts
½ cup of currants
½ cup of red wine vinegar
700 grams minced free range lamb
2 ½ cups of grated pumpkin
small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
small handful of coriander, finely chopped
100-150gram of halloumi or feta (optional), crumbled or chopped into small squares
pomegranate molasses to serve (optional – not paleo and contains sugar but freaking delicious and only use a tiny amount)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Put currants in a small space pan with red wine vinegar, bring to the boil and then switch off an leave for the currants to soak up the vinegar.
3. In a large fry pan toast the pinenuts, once golden brown pop into a large mixing bowl to cool.
4. In the same fry pan, add butter and diced onions fry until the onions are translucent and then add the garlic. Cook this for another few minutes then add this to the pinenuts to cool.
5. Halve your capsicums through the top. I find the easiest way is to use a small knife to cut out the steam and then a spoon to scoop out the white bits and seeds. Rinse the capsicum halves afterwards to ensure all the little seeds are out. Place the halves in a large ceramic/glass lasagne dish. I normally line is with baking paper to save on scrubbing afterwards – I don’t have a dishwasher
6. Back to the mixing bowl and now add lamb, onions, spices, pumpkin, currants and cheese (if using) and half the herbs to the mixing bowl. I find the easiest way to mix this all to your hands. Work the mixture until thoroughly combined.
7. Pack the mince mix into each of the capsicum halves. Once all the mix has been divided amongst the 8 halves pop the dish into the oven for 45minutes.
8. If the capsicums look like the are browning too much, pop foil over the dish to prevent it all from burning. Sneaky currants on the top are inclined to burn towards the end if not supervised.
9. Once cooked squeeze over the juice of one lemon, rest of the herbs and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Serve with a nice leafy green salad.
To make this FODMAP friendly – omit garlic, currants and onions. There is plenty of flavour with all the spices so it will still be mega tasty.
To make this lactose free – cook with ghee, lard or coconut oil and omit cheeses.