In an effort to decompress from an exhausting week, hubby and I decided to spend the entire weekend relaxing - that meant eating some good food, watching good movies and drinking some tasty wine.
I know we're all guilty of always cooking the same weeknight staples - mainly because it's easy and let's face it - after working a long day, we're just exhausted! Well this weekend I decided to break out of the (recipe) box and try something new. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I love Giada! I was literally drooling when I saw her recent Giada at Home episode where she made Couscous Stuffed Peppers. So I decided to attempt making them myself. I'll be honest, usually when a recipe calls for me to make my own sauce, I skip it. There's something about lugging out my blender or food processor that drives me nuts (What a waste of a registry gift!). However this time I decided to use one of my favorite products I've endorsed here before - the Fit N Fresh personal blender. It's so small and cleans up in a snap. If you're like me and shy away from making your own sauces, promise me you'll give Giada's Basil Sauce a shot. It was so delicious and could be used on so many different proteins to compliment the peppers.
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 cup couscous
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup dried currants *Hubby is not a fan of the salty/sweet combo - so I omitted these
1 packed cup chopped baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium red bell peppers
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1 medium orange bell pepper
Hot water, as needed
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) creme fraiche *Substituted with Sour Cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra, as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra, as needed
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Filling: In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and cumin to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan until the couscous is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 6 minutes. Put the couscous in a large bowl and add the beans, currants, spinach, feta and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.
Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all the ribs and seeds. If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up. Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Put the peppers in an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 3/4-inch hot water and bake until the filling is golden and the peppers are cooked through, about 55 to 60 minutes. **Note - if your filling begins to brown, cover with tin foil.
Sauce: In a blender, combine the basil, creme fraiche, olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
Remove the peppers from the oven and arrange on serving plates. Spoon the sauce around the peppers and serve.
This dish was AMAZING! For a little protein I simply grilled some shrimp on the side and dipped it in the basil sauce - YUM YUM YUM!! I know green bell peppers are more affordable, but I think it was worth splurging on yellow and red peppers - our plates looked so festive and colorful! Another suggestion I have is figure one pepper for every two people. Neither hubby nor I could finish our own. (Although we’re both very excited to eat the leftovers for lunch!)