I originally tried this Spanish recipe from a blog by Frank Camorra. I was unable to buy either the cheese (shanklish), or the grain (freekah) that he used. This for me is a recurring theme. This is after all Northern Italy and I live in a mountain village. If I lived in Milan or Turin, then maybe I could buy them. That said however there are a number of North Africans living in the vicinity and I feel a trip to nearby Biella coming. Biella, the regional capital, is a small city which does have a few ‘ethnic’ shops, which I do from time to time look into, to see what is on sale. Time perhaps to investigate again.
However, I am not easily put off, and so I substituted with parmesan (although I intend to try feta next time), and a combination of kamut and wild rice. Kamut is an ancient grain, supposedly used in Egypt during the times of the pharaohs, very similar to wheat and has a nutty flavour. Used in this recipe it gives a satisfying texture.
When you buy the chillis, make sure that you buy the straightest available to enable stuffing with ease.
Serves 3 or 6. Preparation 15 minutes. Cooking 35 minutes
I large onion roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery cut into 6 mm/ 1/4 inch thick slices
2 or 3 gloves of garlic, minced
200 gm/ kamut or wheat
50 gm/wild rice
2 tomatoes roughly chopped or 225 gm/ 1/2 lb tinned chopped tomatoes
Juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
6 large sweet chillis
150 gm/ 5 oz parmesan roughly grated.
The day before, put the kamut and wild rice in a saucepan, cover with the water and leave to soften overnight or simmer for about 45 minutes if you do not want to wait for another day.
Gently saute the onion and celery for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another 2 minutes.
Drain the wheat and rice and add to the onion,celery and garlic.
Add the tomatoes, lemon juice and grated rind and the herbs.
Simmer for about 15 minutes without covering to allow some of the liquid to reduce.
Meanwhile with a sharp knife cut a 1 cm/ 1/2 inch slot down the length of each chilli to allow ease of stuffing.
Season to your taste and then stir in 3/4 of the parmesan.
Carefully stuff the mixture into each chilli, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on the stuffing and then arrange in a greased baking dish.
Bake for about 25 minutes in a pre heated oven set at 180 C/350 F/ Gas 4/ Moderate, until the chillis have softened and the stuffing is heated through.
Here I have served them with the simple addition of boiled potatoes and steamed carrots