“I don’t have a long list, but one of the things I hate shooting are stuffed peppers [capsicums]. It’s a common dish here in Israel and I’ve had the challenge of shooting them for both magazines and cookbooks. Maybe it’s because they always look really messy or because I never liked their taste. When Danya told me she had perfected the recipe and I tried hers, something changed. They were well seasoned and not overcooked like so many I had tried before, and the capsicums kept their form and colour. Now, when a student asks me what doesn’t photograph well, I say: ‘There is no rule’.” Deanna
- 10 red capsicums (peppers)
- 300 g (1½ cups) long-grain white rice
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- 500 g minced (ground) beef
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp baharat (see Note)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 800 g can chopped tomatoes
- 1½ tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 750 ml (3 cups) boiling water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soak the rice in boiling water in a large bowl for 10 minutes, then strain.
Meanwhile, cut the tops off the capsicums and remove the membranes and seeds.
Place all the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and combine well. Add the rice and combine with your hands.
Fill the capsicums with the stuffing, making sure to leave space for the rice to expand (don’t stuff in as much as can fit). Place the stuffed capsicums in a large saucepan so they fit snugly one next to the other.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl, then carefully pour over the capsicums. Cover pan and cook over medium heat, basting every 25 minutes, for one hour or until capsicums are tender and rice is cooked through. To check, take a small taste of the rice from the inside one of the capsicums.
• Baharat, a Middle Eastern spice mix, is available from Middle Eastern food stores and spice stores.
Recipes, photography and styling from Matkonation by Danya Weiner and Deanna Linder.
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