I have to admit that when faced with stuffed peppers I have a tendency to eat the stuffing and discard the pepper. Don’t get me wrong, I like peppers, particularly when roasted with salt and honey and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or eaten raw and used as a scoop for a generous dollop of hummus; but stuffed, they so often disappoint. The pepper is over or undercooked, and the stuffing contains gooey rice, too much tomato or, like a tasty mince, just doesn’t need the enhancement of pepper flavouring at all.
So when I got a handful of glossy new season peppers in my veg box this week, I thought I’d look for a stuffing that actually needed the addition of pepper to complete it. Essentially, I’ve made a spiced bean and corn stew and stuffed it into pre-cooked peppers (to avoid that raw thing). I love black-eyed peas, and they are complimented here with the crunch of corn kernels, tinned corn is too soft, don’t use it, and of course peppers. Serve as a side dish or as a main course with guacamole, sour cream and some flat-bread or tortillas.
1 tsp salt, divided
A few grinds ground black pepper
A drizzle olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped finely
4 green chillies (optional) sliced finely
1/2 cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried fragrant oregano
1 tsp sea salt (level spoon)
1tsp caster sugar
15 oz (400g) tin of Black eyed peas – drained and, rinsed (235g drained)
1-2 cobs of corn, steamed, then cut from the cob
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
50g cheddar cheese, grated
2 tblsp coriander, chopped roughly
Start by boiling or steaming the corn cobs for about five minutes. Allow to cool, then cut the kernels from the corn with a sharp knife and set aside.
Slit the peppers along their length, de-seed, then season with salt and black pepper and a drizzle of oil. Roast them in a hot oven for 15 minutes, until the skins start to soften and blister. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Chop the onion, garlic and chilli.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan for a minute or two then add the chopped onion and chillies.
Sauté on a medium heat, stirring gently until lightly golden. (about 3-6 minutes depending on your stove).
Add the chopped garlic and spices, stir for one minute then add the beans and corn kernels.
Add the chicken/veg stock, a tablespoon of tomato puree and stir the mixture to combine.
Spoon the bean mixture into each pepper and top with grated cheese.
Return stuffed peppers to the oven for 5-10 minutes to heat through.
Serve with, chopped coriander, sour cream and guacamole.