STUFFED PEP­PERS WITH FETA & BEANS

Cuisine - - PREVIEW -

SERVES 4 AS A MAIN, OR 8 AS A SIDE

2 leeks, pale parts only, thinly sliced 1 gar­lic clove, crushed olive oil, for cook­ing ½ tea­spoon co­rian­der seeds 2 x 400g cans of can­nellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained 150g green olives (op­tional) hand­ful of flat-leafed pars­ley leaves, chopped splash of white wine, stock or water 8 long pep­pers (cap­sicums), red or yel­low, or a mix 2 x 200g blocks of feta 250g cherry toma­toes, cut in half, or 3 vine-ripened toma­toes, roughly diced 3 ta­ble­spoons pis­ta­chios, flaked al­monds or pump­kin seeds, toasted hand­ful of chopped dill

HERB SAUCE – OP­TIONAL

4 ta­ble­spoons Greek-style yo­ghurt juice of ½ le­mon 2 ta­ble­spoons finely chopped mint, dill and/or co­rian­der (or ½ tea­spoon dried mint)

In a sturdy roast­ing tin or large oven­proof fry­ing pan set over medium heat, fry the leek and gar­lic in a gen­er­ous amount of olive oil for 2–3 min­utes un­til the leeks have soft­ened. Stir in the co­rian­der seeds and fry for an­other minute or so, then add the beans, olives and pars­ley and mix ev­ery­thing to­gether.

If you’ve got some white wine on the go, you can sac­ri­fice a splash of it to the pan at this point; oth­er­wise, add a dash of stock or water. Spread out the bean mix­ture evenly in your roast­ing tin, or trans­fer from the fry­ing pan to an oven­proof dish.

To pre­pare the pep­pers, cut off the tops – just a cen­time­tre or so be­low the stem – and use your fin­gers to clear out as many seeds as you can. Cut each block of feta into five strips. And here is where the ad­van­tage of us­ing long pep­pers in­stead of the more bul­bous sort be­comes ap­par­ent: push a strip of feta in­side each pep­per and it should fit per­fectly. Very sat­is­fy­ing for neat freaks. Lay the pep­pers on top of the beans and crum­ble the last two strips of feta over the top, then scat­ter over the toma­toes. Set aside un­til you’re ready to bake – if that’s more than a cou­ple of hours away, pop it in the fridge.

If you want to serve the herb sauce with your stuffed pep­pers, sim­ply mix to­gether all the in­gre­di­ents and re­frig­er­ate un­til needed.

About an hour be­fore serv­ing time, pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Driz­zle the pep­pers and toma­toes with olive oil, sea­son with a pinch of salt, and bake for 40–50 min­utes. The pep­pers should look de­feated and col­lapsed

– but ap­petis­ing! They’ll be fine kept warm in a 160°C (140°C fan) oven for a bit longer, but you may need to add a small splash more wine, stock or water to stop them from dry­ing out.

To serve, re­move from the oven and leave to sit for 5 min­utes. If us­ing the herb sauce, flick it in fran­tic zigzags across the top, then sprin­kle with the toasted nuts or pump­kin seeds and fin­ish with a scat­ter­ing of dill and a good grind­ing of pep­per.

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