FEATURED AD FOR 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
Stuffed peppers recipe
This definitely has to be classed as a summertime recipe for me, sunny days when the BBQ comes out and its all about alfresco dining with friends!
When the sun starts to shine I cant help but start planning some great summer feast ideas. Starting off with these slightly charred, vegetarian 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).
I do love a good cheese sauce and I have a few other lovely meals that work so well with this silky smooth sauce. 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.
Stuffed peppers ingredients
To make this stuffed peppers with couscous recipe you will need a few simple ingredients:
- Bell peppers
- Giant couscous
- Semi-skimmed milk
- Cheddar cheese
- cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
- Salad leaves
How to make stuffed peppers with cous cous
The basis of this stuffed pepper recipe is a simple cheese sauce
- Cut a lid out of the top of each pepper and use a spoon to remove the seeds and hollow out the insides.
- Cook the couscous in simmering water with the lid on for 15 minutes.
- Drain and set the couscous to one side
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees
- Make the cheese sauce (tips at the bottom of this post and full recipe instructions below).
- In a bowl mix together the cooked couscous and cheese sauce
- Spoon the couscous in cheese sauce into the peppers, replace the lids and place on a baking tray.
- Place the stuffed peppers in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until slightly charred
What to serve with stuffed peppers?
This stuffed pepper recipe is packed with couscous and oozing with cheese sauce, although they are a great vegetarian option they are kind of on the heavy, indulgent side so a great accompaniment would be something light or even a salad. My mango and avocado salad would be a good choice.
On the other hand if you were to substitute the couscous and cheese sauce and make stuffed peppers with rice then the dish would become a great side itself to chicken or beef or practically anything that gets thrown on the BBQ. These BBQ skewers pair up rather nicely or check out my chicken, proscuitto and blackberry salad for a healthy option.
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. Why not add a dollop and make this a stand alone meal of its own.
Low carb stuffed peppers
For a low carb alternative to this recipe the couscous could be replaced with a mince filling (mince turkey, mince chicken, mince beef) or for a slightly healthier option why not try quinoa stuffed peppers or even quorn stuffed peppers.
Can you freeze stuffed peppers before cooking?
Provided you have cooked the main elements of the dish already like the couscous or any meats you may have included, then it is OK to freeze your stuffed peppers. Allow the stuffed peppers to cool after any cooking has taken place and place them into an appropriate container. You can also use food bags to portion up your stuffed peppers as you please. You can cook your stuffed peppers from frozen, if you wish to do this, cook them in the oven for an extra 15 minutes on top of the 30 minutes described in the recipe and make sure they are piping hot throughout before serving.
How long will stuffed peppers last in the fridge?
If wrapped in cling film or sealed in a seal-able container you can store your stuffed peppers for up to 5 days without problem, i would recommend you consume them cooked fresh or freeze what you don’t need to cook from scratch at a later date.
Can you reheat stuffed peppers?
These peppers are definitely best roasted in the oven from fresh or from frozen as the delicate bell peppers can become a little soft if microwaved. Also depending on your fillings you should follow these basic rules:
- Always refrigerate leftovers and aim to consume ideally within 3 days
- never freeze food more than once
- always completely defrost food before cooking
- always make sure food is piping hot throughout before serving
Homemade cheese sauce
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 :-).
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
- 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 I used English Provender Tomato Chutney
- Extra grated cheese for topping
- 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!!
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