Chillies stuffed with beans

Stuffed peppers

An oldie, but a goodie – this chillies stuffed with beans is taken from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book Everyday Veg. While, I love chillies, if my cooking doesn’t have a spicy zing to it, I wonder what’s missing, and then realise I’ve left the chillies lingering on the side instead of popping them in the pan. However, while the recipe blatantly calls for chillies, I’ve always opted to use pointed peppers and serve this tasty dish as a main, rather than a starter.

Apart from a bit of faffing around, charring peppers and peeling the skins off, it’s a relatively easy dish to make, generally speaking it’s been met with rave reviews every time I dish it up. Who wouldn’t love to tuck into a plate of charred peppers stuffed with a heady mix of smoky paprika infused beans? I know I would.

Having prepared the peppers (don’t worry if they split when you peel and de-seed them, they still look great on the plate), the stuffing is a simple mixture of grated tomato, (who knew you could cut a tomato in half and grate it to remove the skin? Thanks Hugh) shallots, garlic, beans, coriander, cumin and smoky paprika. Once prepared, you stuff the mixture into the peppers (or chillies) as neatly as you can, pop them in an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and shove in the oven. Simple.

Oh, and don’t skip the garlicky yoghurt dressing – even if you’ve got a yoghurt hating husband – it really does add that little extra something.

This is a perfect ‘prepare in advance’ dish, and I usually serve it with a couple of Ottolenghi salads for a truly vegetarian feast.

The verdict from the mother: ‘This is lovely. You could open your own vegetarian restaurant.’ Perhaps I should mention that I simply followed a recipe. My child addled brain doesn’t have the capacity to actually make up my own recipes.

For the peppers

  • 6 large, fresh poblano, Beaver Dam or Hungarian hot wax chillies
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 2-3 shallots (or 1 medium onion), peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 150g-200g tomatoes
  • 400g tin beans (butter, borlotti or pinto), drained and rinsed
  • 1 small bunch coriander, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the garlicky yoghurt (optional)

  • 6 tbsp full-fat plain yoghurt, or soured cream
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed

Method

  1. Heat the grill to high. Put the chillies on a baking tray and grill, turning from time to time, until the skin begins to char. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skin, taking care to keep the chillies whole. Cut around and remove the stalks and a flap of flesh to form a “lid”. Scrape out the seeds and membranes from inside the chillies and lids, and tip out any juice.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, then gently sauté the shallots and garlic until soft – about 10 minutes. Cut the tomatoes in half and grate their flesh straight into the pan, holding back the skin. Simmer for a minute or two to reduce slightly, then remove from the heat.
  3. Add the drained beans to the pan and roughly mash some of them with a fork so they break up a little – don’t overdo it, you want plenty of them to stay whole. Add coriander, cumin and paprika, mix and season. Stuff the mixture carefully into the chillies and top with the “lids”. Place in a lightly oiled oven dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the chillies are baking, combine the yoghurt with the crushed garlic, season and set aside.
  5. Serve hot, with garlicky yoghurt and some crisp, green salad.
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