Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Roast Green Peppers with Giant Cous-Cous

Green peppers have a hard time competing with their red, orange and yellow brethren. Chefs are full of admonitions to 'never ever' substitute green peppers for red, and it's understandable: the flavour is noticeably different, being less sweet and grassier. However they're indispensable for the gorgeous lamb abruzzio and a staple of my Mexican cooking. Tonight I wanted to try stuffing and roasting them, but using flavours which would complement their green taste. I used a Nigel recipe for inspiration, but like the risotto I made earlier in the week, substituted most of the ingredients. To figure out the flavours, I started with the 'abruzzio' flavours, then subtracted the lamb (I try to eat veggie on days when I'm not exercising) and replaced its umameness with a little anchovy.

If you can't get giant cous-cous (and I have to say, I was amazed to find it in my local market), I'm sure normal cous-cous would work just fine. You would, however, miss out on the joy of the escapee giant cous-cous, which leap from the peppers onto the hot roasting tray, and bake through to produce joyous bonus crunchy popcorn-like additions. This recipe makes enough for two hungry people, or in our case, enough for dinner and then lunch the next day.


  • 200g giant cous-cous (also called pearl cous-cous, or mograbiah)
  • six spring onions
  • a large handful of mint
  • six large salted anchovy fillets
  • 10-12 olives
  • four medium to large green peppers
  • half a lemon
  • 100ml sour cream
  • 1 tsp paprika

Cook the cous-cous according to its packet instructions; mine didn't have any but took about 20 minutes to become tender. Finely chop the spring onions and fry in a little olive oil until softened. Zest the lemon, chop the mint, halve the olives, and crumble the anchovies; turn off the heat and add them all to the spring onions, then season with black pepper. (You probably won't need salt because of the olives and anchovies.) Drain and tip in the cooked cous-cous and squeeze over the lemon, then gently combine.

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and pith, but leave the stalks on. Lay out in a large baking tray and fill with the cous-cous combination. Cover loosely with foil and roast in a 200C oven or on a hot bbq for 35-40 minutes, until the peppers are cooked through and beginning to caramelise at the edges. Stir the paprika through the sour cream and serve with the cooked peppers.

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