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Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lamb and Couscous Stuffed Bell Peppers


Stuffed bell peppers make a pretty plate, especially when you mix and match colors and give them a little charred look. But besides the visual appeal, this easy dinner is loaded with flavor—from hearty ground lamb to floral fresh mint to the slightly salty bite of feta cheese.

And don’t forget texture: Israeli couscous adds tender, chewy puffiness to the filling mixture. (See more about that at Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta and Fresh Herbs.)

Israeli Couscous
Note: I lightly charred the peppers over a gas flame simply to soften them a little and blacken them in a few places—not to completely blister the skin for peeling. If you don’t have a gas range, place the peppers under a broiler until they begin to char in spots, turning a few times.

And a tip: To remove the seeds from the peppers after removing the tops, run a knife blade gently around the inside, then use your fingers to twist out the seeds and fibers. Shake out any loose seeds and you’re good to go.   

Remove the top 
Run knife around the inside 
Twist out seeds and fibers
Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling dish
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth            
  • 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
  • 4 medium bell peppers, any color or a mixture
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh mint, plus more for serving
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more for serving
Choose colors!
Preparation
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the lamb, garlic, and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through and some of the liquid is absorbed, 7-8 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and transfer the lamb mixture to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to the bowl with the lamb mixture. Cool to room temperature.
Lamb Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Lamb
Couscous Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Couscous 
  1. While the lamb and couscous cool, preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly oil an 8 X 8-inch baking dish. (If you’re not using a gas range, preheat the broiler first to char the peppers.)
  2. Cut off about 1/2-inch from the top of each pepper, keeping the tops with stems intact. Remove the seeds and fibers. (Note: If a stem breaks off, no problem—you can still use the remaining top.)
  3. Char the peppers and tops directly over a gas flame, turning a few times, until beginning to char in places, 4-5 minutes total. Use tongs to transfer the peppers and tops to a large cutting board or platter. Let cool until easily handled.
Beginning to Char

Char in Spots

Char Tops Too
Charred Peppers and Tops
  1. Place the peppers snugly together cut-side up in the prepared baking dish. Reserve the tops.
  2. Add 1/2 cup feta, 2 teaspoons chopped mint, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice to the lamb and couscous, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the lamb mixture and spoon into the cavities of the peppers, gently packing. Bake until beginning to brown on top and the filling is hot throughout, 12-13 minutes.
Lamb Mixture
Ready to Bake 
Baked Peppers
Plate the peppers and sprinkle with additional feta and mint. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with the tops ajar on the filling.


Lamb and Couscous Stuffed Peppers

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