STUFFED PEPPERS WITH FETA & BEANS
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.