In the produce aisle, bell peppers stand out in bright shining colors of green, orange, red and yellow. Bell peppers are the large glossy fruit of the Capsicum annuum species of plant. They are botanically fruits but are generally considered vegetables in the culinary world. Calling it a pepper is a bit misleading since it has a mild flavor and is often grouped with other "sweet" peppers. Biting into a slice of bell pepper gives a crisp crunch, slightly bitter but not hot.
The typical green bell peppers are the unripe fruit, while the more colorful red, yellow and orange are fully ripened. There is as much difference in flavor as there is in color. The green peppers have a sharper bite and are not quite as flavorful. Red, yellow and orange bell peppers are perfect for roasting or chopping into salads and recipes, and they add a flash of color and a robust flavor.
Whatever color you choose, adding bell peppers to your recipes or even fresh onto your vegetable tray will add some of the best nutrients available for good health.
Here are some excellent products to get that sweet pepper taste anytime!
All items available at Kings, Hillsdale
Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Basil Sauce
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
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) crme fraiche
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.
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 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-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 the filling begins to brown too quickly, cover the pan with foil.
Sauce: In a blender, combine the basil, crme 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.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com