Having just watched Thomasina Miers' new cookery show ‘Mexican Food Made Easy’ on (Tuesdays: C5 @ 19.30), I was inspired to share with you one of my Mexican recreations.
I ate this dish in a Mexican cookery school where they use large ‘chilli de agua’ and stuff with a mixture of meat and rice. Traditionally these are battered and fried but I prefer the less greasy chargrilling method detailed here. Big chillies are hard to come by in the UK, but I saw British grown Romano peppers (large red pointed peppers) in the greengrocers on Gloucester Road and these are perfect for stuffing. These won’t have any heat and eat just like a standard bell pepper so spice up your pepper filling instead. Oh, and if you happen to read Thomasina's fantastic book accompanying the series, there is a cracking recipe on page 114 contributed by yours truly! For four:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large chicken breasts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 handful stoned olives
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp (or more) chopped jalapeño peppers pickled in vinegar
1 small handful of raisins
1 handful of grated mature cheddar
4 large romano peppers
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until golden at the edges. Add the garlic and continue to fry for a minute. Blitz the chicken in a food processor to a rough mince and add to the pan. Add the spices and cook for 5 mins over a gentle heat until the chicken is cooked through.
In a bowl, mix the chicken mix with the olives, tomatoes, chillies, raisins and cheese, season well to taste. Cut the tops off the peppers and retain the lids. Carefully remove the seeds and any white ribs inside the peppers taking care not to puncture the peppers (you need to stuff them remember). Carefully fill each pepper with the chicken mixture pushing down to the point and packing in firmly.
Heat the oven to 220c and also heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Char-grill the peppers until they are marked all over with black lines from the griddle (you can jump this stage and go straight to the oven but add 10 mins cooking time). Put the tops back on the peppers and place in a baking dish and roast for 20 mins until cooked right through.
Serve with salad, large garlic croutons or nachos, salsa and sour cream.