Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Chorizo and Couscous Stuffed Peppers
I developed a craving for stuffed peppers recently, and spent several days envisioning how I would make them. I've rarely eaten them, as most people make them with the green peppers that I consider to be an abomination -- they're much too strong and bitter. But I love the pretty colored red, yellow and orange varieties, and was determined to bake them up with something stuffed into their middles.
Woman on a mission that I always am to use up leftovers, I put my last bit of Trader Joe's soy chorizo towards this purpose, but needed more ingredients to make a proper filling. Onions and garlic, of course -- those were obvious, as saute partners with the "soy-sage," as Jeremy calls the soy "sausage." The trimmings from cutting the tops off the peppers would also be a given.
But what would the carbohydrate, the substance of the dish, be? I had brown rice on hand, but that seemed plain. So I used some of the whole wheat Israeli couscous that had been loitering in the pantry, waiting for a reason to justify its existence.
Israel couscous is much larger than the standard Moroccan couscous; it looks like it should be used as ammunition for a bb gun. I would pre-cook it, and then it would become even more tender when baked with all those vegetables.
And so, last Saturday afternoon, this is precisely what I did -- I chopped (including slicing my finger, which Tom expertly cared for by sealing the flap with Krazy Glue before bandaging me) and I stirred and I sauteed. Tom then took over filling the peppers and grating the cheese, before I wounded myself further. We watched baseball -- first the end of the Yankees win over the Red Sox, then the beginning of the Tigers loss to the Royals -- as the apartment filled with the fabulous aroma of spice and peppers and browning cheese.
The peppers were tender but not mushy once they'd finished baking, and -- as you can see -- were picture perfect: bright, festive, colorful, and enticing.
This is an easy recipe to make with either regular chorizo or with soy-sage, and I truly cannot recommend it highly enough. I'll use my uninjured hand to pat myself on the back for having this work out perfectly on the very first try ... :)
Chorizo and Couscous Stuffed Peppers
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon oil
6 ounces soy chorizo
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions, both red and white
4 peppers, tops removed and chopped, seeded
1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350F.
Bring water, salt and cumin to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, cover, and turn heat down to "low." Cook for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let couscous rest for 10 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo, garlic, onions and the chopped peppers; saute until the vegetables are translucent.
Stir the couscous into the vegetable mixture.
Place the peppers into an 8"x8" baking dish.
Divide the couscous mixture among them, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, divide the cheese over the tops of the peppers, and bake for 20 more minutes.
Serve hot. Serves 4 generously.
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