I so often wonder what – if anything – my kids will think about the food they ate growing up. I grew up with solid, nutritious meals that were pretty typical of Australian households in the ’80s and 90’s: meat and 3 veg, sausages, and my very favourite, spaghetti bolognese. How I eat as an adult is SO different to how I ate as a child, and because I wasn’t a particularly adventurous eater growing up, I still feel I have a hell of a lot of learning to do. It pleases me that my kids already love trying new things and exploring the cultural elements of cooking, eating, and learning about food. I hope that this continues into their adult years, and that when they think back on it (do people other than me do this? Maybe not.), they recognise that a big part of the reason I’m always trying new recipes is because it’s important to me that they try new things and appreciate the origins and contexts of the food they eat.
Anyway, all that actually has little to do with this recipe, which isn’t particularly difficult or exotic. It’s just an insight into the things that run through my head when I’m cooking. Tonight went from “I hope my daughter likes this… I wonder if I’d have liked this when I was 9?” to something more existentially wanky.
It’s clearly a bit carby and cheesy, but still, it just hits 500 calories, which is reasonable. It’s a big recipe, in that it serves 6, but nobody will complain at lunchtime tomorrow! The original recipe from Womens Weekly Veg Night at Home was (obviously) vegetarian, but I swapped out two cans of beans for 500g lean mince, and honestly, I’m not at all sorry.
1tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium yellow capsicum (any colour is fine, but yellow is my favourite), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
500g lean beef mince
400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
2tsp cayenne powder (adjust for taste – this is spicy but bearable)
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
800g tinned diced tomatoes
1.5 cups beef stock
1.5 cups self raising flour
1.5 cups polenta
90g butter, chopped
50g grated cheddar
100g corn kernels (frozen is fine, and don’t worry about defrosting them)
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Heat oil over medium-low heat in an oven proof skillet. Add onion, capsicum and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add mince, and cook on high heat for 5 minutes, until browned. Add beans, tomatoes, stock and spices, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes until thickened slightly.
- Meanwhile, combine flour and polenta and rub in butter until it resembled very damp sand. Stir in egg, corn, cheddar and milk, to combine into a sticky dough.
- Remove the chilli from heat. Form 6 balls of dough and gently drop onto the chilli. Bake for 20 minutes, or until dumplings have cooked through and turned golden.