SPONSORED BY THE ENGLISH PROVENDER CO.
Roasted stuffed peppers bursting at the seams with giant pearls of couscous in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with a sweet tomato and chilli chutney
If we’re talking stuffed peppers then you know summer is here! Its June, the weather has been glorious, the BBQs have been plentiful, theres been burnt faces in the office on a fair few Monday mornings, and my other half has even started to utter words about finishing off our pizza oven build!! . . . I so cannot wait to get going with some homemade pizza oven goodness.
Just in case you don’t know about our little clay oven, you can read about our pizza oven project here (theres also a lovely treacle tart recipe in this link 😉 ) . . .
Just needs that final layer.
But anyway, lets not speak too soon about sunny times and alfresco dining. We do have to be oh so careful with the British Summertime. Just as fast as it arrived (literally one week frosty and the next 20 degrees with blue skies) it can disappear again. So, whilst keeping calm over here and not getting too carried away, I’ve decided it might ok to get cooking up some great summer feast ideas. Starting off with these slightly charred, stuffed peppers, packed full of creamy, couscous in cheese sauce – with a lovely dollop of sweet, tangy tomato chutney on the top. – Yes the cheese sauce, and couscous, and chutney did go all over my face, but its so worth it! (scroll to the end of this post to read about how I make my perfect cheese sauce).
The chutney on top
The English Provender company very kindly provided me with some of their delicious tomato chutney for this recipe – and it really paired up fantastically well with the Mediterranean flavours and velvety cheese sauce.
This dish really is a summer feast and one of these stuffed peppers is a meal in itself. However, they also make great starters or side dishes to any kind of BBQ or outdoor eating. And I promise they will definitely go down better than the obligatory bowl of salad or rice. These BBQ skewers pair up rather nicely as well. If you are after some other homemade snacks and sides for a summer feast, have a look at my steak and veggie BBQ skewers, my homemade beetroot hummus and my homemade autumnal dips, which includes a guacamole, a cherry tomato salsa, and a 2 cheese pumpkin dip!!
Cooking stuffed peppers
Even though these stuffed peppers are the perfect partner to a BBQ feast – they are a little too large and oddly shaped to cook well over coals. This is where an outdoor pizza oven would come in extremely handy!! However, if you don’t happen to have an outdoor oven, or if like us you have one, but haven’t quite managed to finish building it, then these peppers are definitely best roasted in the oven. 30 minutes is all they need, at around 180 degrees fan, which leaves plenty of time and BBQ-space for the burgers and kebabs.
I absolutely adore cheese sauce, and it works so well in this dish. Cheese sauce can get a bad rep as being hard to make. But once you’ve made it, or at least made it wrong a few times and ended up manically trying to sieve out the lumps, then you eventually get the hang of it and realise it ain’t so hard :-). Then you can start to add it to all kinds of things. Obviously, the go-to cheese sauce recipe has to be leeks in cheese sauce with your Sunday roast. But its also a really great way to jazz up your sprouts at Christmas, and I also love a creamy cheese sauce in my fish pie – mmmm.
My three rules for how to make the perfect cheese sauce
The first rule of cheese sauce making is to have equal amounts of butter and flour. Usually around 20-30g of each, but this depends on how much sauce you are making. Melt the butter in a small pan and then add the flour to form a paste.
The second rule is to remember that you want to try and keep your sauce thick and allow the milk to be absorbed into the paste. So next step, keep the pan on a low to medium heat and gradually begin to add the milk to the paste (around 1 pint of milk can be added to 30g butter and 30g flour). Stir quickly between each addition of milk, remembering to run the spoon all around the edges and base of the pan. As each addition of milk thickens, add a little more until all the milk has been added. At this point, you will have successfully made a white sauce.
The final rule is to make sure the flour has been fully cooked out (otherwise the sauce will have a slight floury taste). To cook out the flour, keep the white sauce on the heat and continue to stir until it just starts to boil. At this point the pan can be taken off the heat and the grated cheese can be stirred in to turn the white sauce to a cheese sauce. Then get adding it to your leeks, peppers, sprouts, fish pies or whatever else takes your fancy 🙂
Stuffed peppers with couscous in cheese sauce
- 6 medium sized bell peppers tops cut off and peppers hollowed out (save the lids for decoration if you wish)
For the couscous in cheese sauce
- 200 g dried giant Israeli couscous (I used Merchant Gourmet Giant Couscous)
- 400 ml boiling water
- 30 g butter
- 30 g flour
- 2/3 pint 350ml semi skimmed milk
- 75 g cheddar grated
- Pinch of sea salt and pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Tomato chutney and extra grated cheese for topping I used English Provender Tomato Chutney
- Rocket or salad leaves
To prepare the peppers
- Cut a lid out of the top of each pepper around the main stem (use the stem to lift your lid off). Use a spoon to hollow out the peppers and fully remove all the seeds and pith. Set to one side ready to stuff later.
To prepare the couscous
- Place a small pan on medium heat and add the couscous and boiling water. Bring to the boil then simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes - or for length of time stated on the packet. Keep an eye on this and top up the water if required. Once cooked, drain and set the couscous to one side.
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees
To make the cheese sauce.
- Melt the butter in a small pan and then add the flour to form a paste. Keep the pan on a low to medium heat and gradually begin to add the milk to the paste. Stir quickly between each addition of milk, remembering to run the spoon all around the edges and base of the pan. As each addition of milk thickens, add a little more until all the milk has been added. At this point, you will have successfully made a white sauce. Make sure the flour is fully cooked out of the sauce by continuing to heat and stir until it just starts to boil. At this point the pan can be taken off the heat and the grated cheese can be stirred in to turn the white sauce to a cheese sauce. Make sure the cheese has fully melted (briefly return to the heat if needed) then season wth salt and pepper and stir in the paprika and cayenne pepper.
Stuffing the peppers
- Add the Cooked giant couscous to the cheese sauce and mix together well.
- Next place your hollowed out peppers on a baking tray. Carefully spoon the couscous in cheese sauce into each of the peppers until full. Sprinkle a little extra grated cheese on the top of each pepper and then carefully and a tsp of tomato chutney on top of the cheese.
- Place the stuffed peppers into the centre of the pre heated oven and roast for 30 minutes or until slightly charred on the outside.
- Remove from the oven and add a little more chutney if desired then serve with rocket or salad leaves…..and the rest of your summer feast!!
PIN FOR LATER
I am linking this recipe to #cookblogshare hosted by hijackedbytwins, recipesmadeeasy, everydayhealthyrecipes and Easypeasyfoodie. I am also linking to #brilliantblogposts by honestmum, #cookonceeattwice by searchingforspice, and #recipeoftheweek hosted by amummytoo.