Emily’s Chilli Con Carne Stuffed Peppers
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing
20g (3/4 oz) slightly salted butter
500g (1lb 2oz) lean beef mince (or veggie mince)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and very finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
400g (14oz) can of chopped tomatoes
400g (14oz) can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
150ml (5oz) beef stock (ideally reduced-salt)
4–6 green peppers (depending on size)
150g (5 ½ oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
100g (3 ½ oz) creme fraiche
30g (1oz) coriander leaves, roughly torn
Veg Portions / Serving: 2
Recipe from Get Your Kids to Eat Anything by Emily Leary. Photography by Tom Regester | tomregester.com
Chilli con carne is quick, filling and nutritious, and this version shakes up how you serve it – spooned into peppers, topped with cheese and roasted.
Place the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the minced meat or veggie mince, onion and sliced chilli and fry for 5 minutes, breaking up any lumps – the butter will help the mince to brown.
Add the garlic, cumin and chilli powder and fry for 2–3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, beans and stock and cook gently for 10 minutes until a gravy starts to form. Season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF), 180ºC fan, Gas Mark 6. Grease a baking tray with the extra oil. Slice the top off the peppers and scoop out the seeds, aiming to keep the flesh otherwise intact. Place them on the baking tray; I find it works best to use a small tray so that you can pack the peppers in to help them stay upright.
Spoon the chilli into the peppers until it is almost spilling over the sides. Sprinkle the cheese on top and roast in the oven for 15 minutes until the peppers start to brown and the cheese bubbles.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a scattering of coriander.
Tip: Peppers make a wonderful “bowl” for all sorts of dishes. Use them in place of pastry for a different individual quiche, roast them filled with your favourite pasta bake, or pile high with chickpea salad for a packed lunch.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Put the kids in charge of the halved peppers – help them scoop out the seeds carefully with a spoon, and let them place them on the baking trays and gently spoon the chilli filling into them. Give them the grated cheese to sprinkle over, and let them plate up the dinner with creme fraiche and coriander.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.
Charlotte Radcliffe RNutr
Dr Rupy Aujla