Crisp, creamy, tangy, and mellow, I use these words to describe my stuffed peppers. All the ingredients in these peppers do NOT blend into one ubiquitous taste in your mouth, they stay their separate characters, so you get burst after burst of different tastes and textures. And I am proud to say this is my own recipe. Made out of desperation at the soggy stuffed pepper recipe of Giada De Laurentis (Food Network), who bakes hers in broth in the oven. Ugh! So lets begin, and hey, it's a fast recipe, you're quite welcome!
Stuffs Two Large Peppers:
- 1/2 c cous cous
- 1/2 c water
- 1 ts "Better Than Bouillon " or your choice of boullion or stock
- 1 tb extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 small onion
- 1/2 c cooked chickpeas, then smashed (if using canned, microwave covered for 5 min)
- 2 c chopped mushrooms (I used my mushroom mix, Portabella, Beech, Cremini, and Shitake)
- 1/4 ts celery seed, heaping
- 1 c chopped spinach
- 1/2 ts dry mint
- 1/4 c to 1/2 c feta (I used 1/2 but I LOVE feta. Use the smaller amount, then add more after tasting the filling)
- dash of black pepper (very light hand of this please, very!)
CousCous is VERY simple to make, rather it makes itself. Microwave or heat the water and the boullion, and pour into the couscous. Cover immediately and set aside. That's IT. (Here are 2 brands if you can't find it in stores (though you should), Organic couscous, or Osem North African )
Turn heat on low and add oil and garlic. Sprinkle a bit of salt as well. After two minutes, add onions, (on medium heat now), stir for a minute or two, and add mushrooms and chick peas. Saute on medium high until mushrooms are softened, not mushy. You will want a bit of meaty bite to your dish. Turn gas off.
Take out your couscous and stir around, lightly with a fork. Add spinach on top and immediately your mushroom mixture. Mix until well everything is well balanced.
TASTE. This is very important now. Do you need more salt? All bullion's are not created equal, and knowing that I deliberately do not tell you the amount of salt to add to your filling. Taste it, please. Add more feta if you'd like. Don't add extra mint as the sauce will introduce more.
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cube frozen pesto (or store bought OR simply a tablespoon of blended basil)
- 1 ts cornstarch
- salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 ts mint (then more if you'd like after you taste it)
- dash or two or oregano
- couple of dashes of garlic powder
Simply combine all, and microwave, one min high. You need to know, not all delectable sauces need low simmering and constant bending over a stove. This sauce will knock your socks off. Your welcome. Mix, until fully blended.
Add the above, tasting as you go. This is food that will go into YOUR stomach, YOU should like it. After you add my recommended amounts, if you find you'd like more mint or garlic go ahead!
Heat a frying pan with a ts of oil. Make it HOT. Cut the top off of a bell pepper (maybe 1/4 inch), take out the seeds and white parts. Sprinkle the inside with salt, crushed pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle the same three into the frying pan right before adding the pepper. Basically you will grill the pepper on each side on high heat until the walls begin to give a little, and the skin begins to char. Now it is totally up to you how much you'd like your peppers done. I like them crunchy, and I like the skin to develop some black marks. This is achieved by the highest heat possible on a stove.
Take your filling, fill the peppers. Add a dollop of sauce on the side, around your plate, on top of the peppers. Viola, done! The recipe may sound long, but I am trying to write so that people without much cooking experience can follow. I made these in about 30 min? :)
If you try these I'd LOVE to know what you think! Please comment!