It's light, it's healthy, it's my entry for this week's ARF/5-a-day event. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you giant Mediterranean bell peppers stuffed with spiced cous-cous, and served with oven-roasted Anya potatoes, fresh boiled green beans tossed with a little butter and salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
mm mm MMMMMMM.
I'm salivating all over again at the very thought of this dish. The cous-cous was jazzed up with chopped shiitake mushrooms (my favourite kind at the moment) and chickpeas, with a topping of toasted slivered almonds. I gave my portion of cous-cous a little extra pizzazz by mixing in a tbsp of harissa paste (store-bought, but I intend to make my own soon). I could have added some feta cheese too, but decided there was no need to gild the lily, as it were. Besides, the feta would probably do better with spinach for stuffing something else.
One thing, though... I left the peppers in the oven for a little too long because I was distracted by the TV (who asked them to make Malcolm in the Middle so addictively funny!), and they sort of flopped shapelessly. They lost points on presentation, because they wouldnt sit up and hold my stuffing nicely. But they didnt lose a thing on flavour - they tasted lovely, as roasted peppers always do.
Recipe for: Couscous-stuffed bell pepper
1 extra large or two medium bell peppers, halved lengthwise and de-seeded
1/2 cup canned cooked chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 slices of pickled jalapenos, minced (optional)
1 fresh green chilli, de-seeded and minced (optional)
4-5 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped fine
5-6 shiitake mushrooms (or as per your choice), chopped
A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup quick-cook couscous (try saying that quickly - heheh!)
2 cups boiling water
1 tsp butter
Salt to taste
1 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, chillies/jalapenos, oregano and thyme and fry for 30 seconds.
2. Add the chopped onion and fry till it gets soft and transparent, then add the mushrooms and fry for a minute or so.
3. Now put the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the chickpeas and half the coriander and basil leaves and mix well.
4. Drop in the cous-cous and stir, then add the boiling water, butter and salt to taste. Bring the water back to a boil, then cover the pan and turn the heat off.
5. Let the cous-cous sit for 5 minutes, then fork in the remaining fresh chopped herbs, fluffing up the grains at the same time.
6. Brush the pepper halves with the remaining tbsp of olive oil and put in the oven on a baking tray at 180C/350F for 20 minutes or so, until the peppers begin to soften.
7. Stuff the peppers with the cous-cous mixture and put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until heated through.
8. Sprinkle with the toasted slivered almonds and serve hot as a side dish, or as a light supper with oven-roasted potatoes and fresh steamed vegetables of your choice.
Tip: If your peppers wont stand nicely on their bases, cut a long sliver off the bottom so that it can "rest". Be careful not to cut through the pepper!