Didn’t grow up with stuffed peppers? Here’s a quick 101: hollowed out bell peppers are filled with any combination of meat, grains, vegetables, and spices. Of course, that doesn’t quite sum up how delicious and, for some, nostalgia-inducing they are. They’re sweet, savory, and hearty--perfect for the dropping temperature. Whether you’re familiar with stuffed peppers or a newbie, there’s a lot to love about this version. The foundation is pearled couscous, which lends a nutty taste and unrivaled texture. Ground beef, juicy tomatoes, and Tuscan spices are stirred in, and, once stuffed, the peppers receive a sprinkle of melty Monterey Jack. Tucking into one of these will make you feel like a kid again.
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Green Bell Pepper
Tuscan Heat Spice
Chicken Stock Concentrate
Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry all produce. Halve bell peppers lengthwise; remove core and seeds. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle each with oil; rub to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned and softened, 18-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings) in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add couscous and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add ¾ cup water (1½ cups for 4). Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook until couscous is tender, 6-8 minutes. Keep covered off heat until ready to serve. While couscous cooks, halve, peel, and dice onion. Finely dice tomato.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large, preferably ovenproof, pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add beef and Tuscan Heat Spice; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up meat into pieces, until browned and cooked through, 4-5 minutes. TIP: If there’s excess grease in your pan, carefully pour it out.
Stir tomato paste and diced tomato into pan with beef mixture until thoroughly combined, then add stock concentrate and ⅓ cup water; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in couscous until thoroughly combined. Turn off heat.
Once bell peppers are done roasting, remove from oven and stuff each half with as much filling as will fit. Place in pan with remaining filling, nestling each stuffed pepper half in the mixture. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. TIP: If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer mixture to a small baking dish and arrange stuffed pepper halves in there.
Bake stuffed peppers on middle rack until cheese has melted, 3-4 minutes. Divide pepper halves and remaining filling between plates and serve.