This is another guest post from my son!
Usually during winter, you want something filling and heartwarming – like a pie, hot pot or pasta bake. But after Christmas, it’s the season of trying to be healthy.
To answer that challenge, I’ve come up with this simple and tasty recipe for halloumi stuffed peppers that’s ideal for a light lunch or a side to a main course.
If you’re not familiar with it, halloumi is a tangy hard cheese from Cyprus made from goat and sheep’s milk. It’s quite similar to paneer in that it doesn’t melt when heated, but it also has a more distinct flavour of its own. It comes in a few varieties but all of them will be supplied in a container that also includes a bit of lemon juice. This is so that the cheese doesn’t dry out during refrigeration.
Personally, I love it as it’s easy to cook and can be grilled or lightly pan-fried with some sliced heritage tomatoes and a light olive oil dressing. In Cyprus it’s traditionally served with watermelon. Halloumi is also ideal for barbecuing! But perhaps we’ll need a little more sun before we try these particular approaches.
One thing to check when buying halloumi is that it has a vegetarian symbol on it. Halloumi, like most other cheeses, is made with rennet but most UK brands I’ve seen use vegetarian rennet.
Ingredients – for two people
- 1 packet halloumi cheese (250g packet)
- 2 bell peppers (aka capsicums)
- 300g dry cous cous – flavoured cous cous works quite well
- garlic (ideally fresh)
- salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- optional: sliced jalapeno peppers and grated chedder cheese.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C. Slice the peppers into halves, remove the stalks and the seeds. Chop the garlic finely.
2. Grease an ovenproof baking tray and lay the peppers down on their back (not the cut side down). Spray or toss in oil then sprinkle the garlic inside the greased pepper halves. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Put the peppers into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.
3. At this point, boil some water and start making the cous cous as per packet instructions. I like using vegetable stock or bouillon to enhance the flavour.
4. While the peppers are cooking, open the halloumi package. The halloumi will be preserved in some lemon juice with mint, which you can discard. Dice the halloumi into thick cubes.
5. In a greased, non-stick frying pan heat some oil and fry the diced halloumi. Be careful not to constantly turn them until each side is slightly browned, as they can spit and fall apart. Keep cooking the halloumi cubes until they start getting golden brown on their sides, but not too dark.
6. Check on the cous cous. Once it’s absorbed all the water, add the fried halloumi cubes and stir gently.
7. Don’t forget the peppers! When the timer goes off, check the peppers. They should have softened and the edges slightly browned. Take them out and allow to cool slightly.
8. Now, carefully spoon the cous cous and halloumi mixture into each half-pepper. Don’t worry if you lose some on the way!
9. Serve hot! You may need to give it all a quick blast in the oven but make sure it doesn’t get burnt.
As a variation you could also add sliced jalapenos or extra grated chedder cheese. You could also try other types of peppers such as romano peppers, or even adapt the filling in different, spicier ways!
Sounds tasty? Let me know what you think in the comments below.