Couscous Stuffed Peppers

Every now and then I come up with something that just works. It isn’t often, but sometimes I do. This was one of them.

At the farmers’ market I found these incredible yellow peppers and some heirloom tomatoes. The garden has given me kale and basil, so I figured I could make up something with all of those. Bob isn’t a huge fan of peppers, but the yellow and orange ones he can do, so I thought he’d eat the filling and leave most of the pepper, but he ate the whole thing. The peppers were incredibly sweet and the filling had a deep flavor that was great on it’s own, but complimented the peppers so well.

Keep in mind that this was something I threw together and all quantities are estimations.

Recipe:

  • 2 large peppers
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pecorino cheese (or other hard grating cheese), divided in half
  • 4 kale leaves
  • 3/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Peppers: Cut the top of the peppers off and remove the seeds and veins of the pepper. Coat in olive oil and lightly salt. Roast in 350 degree oven while you prep the filling.

Pesto: combine basil, kale, lemon juice, garlic, almonds and a pinch of salt in food processor. Blitz until everything is finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup cheese and about 1/4 cup olive oil and blitz again. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Couscous: Heat a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot add onions and tomatoes. Cook for about five minutes, pressing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon every few minutes to help them burst. (you could also chop the into small pieces then add them about half way through cooking the onion.) Season with salt and pepper. Add couscous and cook for two minutes more. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pesto and most of the remaining cheese.

Put it all together: Remove pepper from oven and carefully (they are hot) fill each pepper with couscous mixture. Sprinkle a little cheese on top and return to the oven for about twenty minutes. There should be enough filling left for a third pepper, but I took it for lunch the next day instead of making another pepper.

Bedrock Wine Company – Zinfandel, 2016

  • Basic info: Bedrock Wine Company, Esola Vineyard Zinfandel, Amador County, CA – 2016.
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35 (from winery)
  • Look: Ruby red wine that is opaque in most lights, but has some translucency in the sun. Slight plum tint at the rim.
  • Smell: Raspberry (ripe, ready to eat raspberry still on the vine) with a little cherry.
  • Taste: Mild spice, red fruit, anise/ licorice. Super smooth with a nice acidity and mineralogy. Wine changes from fruity to a deeper flavor and it has a chocolate note on the long finish.
  • Conclusions: Amazing wine. Bob and I savored each sip of this wine, and I think we sat on the back porch for over an hour savoring a single glass each. This is everything I love about zinfandels in a light style, although the alcohol content is still up there.
  • Other notes: After the first sip Bob and I just looked at each other. If I blind tasted this I would have called it a pinot noir right out of the bottle. A half hour later, as the wine sat and opened a little, it was pure zinfandel. I didn’t think I could like a zinfandel more than I liked the Old Vine Zinfandel from Bedrock, but this is just as good if not better. I’m kind of sad that we only have one bottle of this wine. It is a little more than we usually spend for a “just to open” bottle but since I found out I passed my Admin Certification test for NJ and a bunch of other states (same test, but each state has a different required score – I managed to score high enough that my score will count for any state that accepts the exam) we decided a little celebration was in order.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes. 14.4% alcohol by volume.

IMG_20180211_152813.jpg