She began working when I was 8 years old, but even though in full time work dinner was always on the table. If my dad happened to come home before her they had planned the night before what was going to be cooked and he would start dinner and she'd finish it. And the food was always amazing, honestly, every meal was made with love.
But ask her for a recipe, it is all in her head, nothing is written down. Drives me crazy, now I am constantly asking her how to make stuff for if something happens to her, all her recipes go with her.
Dinner at our house was always with everyone at the table, no matter who came home last, we waited. As kids you would get a snack after school, but we always sat down as a complete family to have dinner. It was our family time. And that is something that I to now do, we all wait for my husband to come home and then we eat.
Anyway, these capsicums are my families version of comfort food. I have now got the recipe out of my mum's head and onto paper, and now I am happy to share it with the rest of the world. Although it seems like a complicated dish, I found it far easier to make than I expected.
I also chose to bake mine in my large Chasseur pot, as I find if I cooked it on the stove top I would have to watch it so it does not catch on the bottom. By putting it in the oven it cooks for longer, but you put it and forget about it for the 3 hours, much easier.
700g pork and veal mince
2 rashers dry cured bacon, chopped like mince
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2-1 teaspoon vegeta
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soda water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 - 1.5 litres water
150g smoked pork ribs
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon vegeta
Salt and pepper, to taste
Using a sharp knife cut around the stalk part of the capsicum, it can be fiddly but take your time not to tear the capsicums. Remove the seeds and any of the membrane. Rinse the capsicums inside and out, drain them upside down, until needed.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add the oil and onion. Sauté for 4 minutes, until they are starting to soften. Add the garlic and bacon, sauté another 1 minute. Add the mince and parsley. Stir constantly, breaking up any lumps of mince until it is all browned and lump free. Add the tomato paste, vegeta, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring 1-2 minutes more. Turn off the heat add the soda water, stir through.
Place the rice in a small saucepan, cover with water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 1 minute, drain. Add the rice to the mince mixture, stir through.
Make the sauce: Add oil to a medium sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour stir the flour through the oil, cook for 1 minute. Add the paprika, stir through for 30 seconds. Add more oil if it is too dry. (I added only 2 tablespoons of flour and my sauce was thin, but very flavoursome, if you add more flour the sauce would be thicker). Add in 2 cups of the cold tap water to the paprika mix, stir it through, breaking up any lumps that form. Pour it into the base of your cooking pot.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Fill the capsicums with your mince mixture, press the meat in, but do not pack the mince in too tightly. Any juices that are at the bottom of the mince frying pan needs to be spooned into the capsicums also. Place the capsicums in your cooking pot side by side with openings up. Your pot needs to be large enough to do this, so that the capsicums are right next to each other and cannot fall over, spilling out the filling.
Bake covered for 3 hours or until the capsicums have collapsed.
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