Barley, Plantain, Black Bean & Harissa Stuffed Peppers

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I don’t make stuffed peppers that often but when I do, I remember how much I actually like them. This time I stuffed them with a mixture of barley, pan fried plantains, black beans and some harissa for a bit of a kick. I cooked the barley in vegetable stock so it already has a bit of seasoning The result is a filling vegetarian dish which also makes a good packed lunch the next day.

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This recipe makes 5 stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

5 big bell peppers

½ cup of barley

2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

2 ripe plantains, finely chopped

130grs of canned black beans, drained

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of harissa

Pinch of celery salt

Salt

Pepper

Cayenne

 

Place the barley in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock. Let it simmer over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the barley is cooked through.

To prepare the bell peppers, carefully slice off the top part. Then remove the membrane and seeds.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped plantains, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Cook it while stirring for about 4 to 5 minutes, until the plantain is cooked through. Transfer it to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onion. Cook the onion until it is translucent. Then add the garlic and harissa, and cook for another minute. Then add the barley, beans, coriander, celery salt and the plantains. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Stuff the peppers all the way to the top and cover them with the top part previously sliced off. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake them for 50 minutes. I served them with a simple arugula salad. Enjoy!

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Pan-Fried Plantain Gnocchi with Crème Fraiche and Bacon Crumbs

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I wanted to try and make plantain gnocchi for a while now.  But the last time I got plantains; I ended up frying them and eating them with rice and fried eggs. One of those things I used to love eating growing up. It is simple and delicious.

I served these gnocchi with a very simple sauce made with crème fraiche, shallots and garlic, and topped it off with some bacon crumbs and a few thyme leaves.  This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the Gnocchi:

3 ripe plantains

40gr of Parmesan cheese

1 egg

½ teaspoon of salt

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

200gr crème fraiche

Salt

Pepper

For the bacon crumbs:

5 slices of crispy bacon

Butter and olive oil to pan-fry the gnocchi

A few fresh thyme leaves (optional), to decorate

 

To make the bacon crumbs, just fry the bacon in a pan until crispy. Then place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb most of the fat. Then put the bacon in a food processor and pulse until you get crumbs. Set aside.

Put the unpeeled plantains in an oven tray and bake for 30 minutes at 180C/350F.  Allow to cool down. Then peel them and cut each plantain into 4 pieces and remove the seeds using a knife.  Once all the seeds have been removed, chop them and put them in the food processor and pulse until you get a smooth puree.

Put the plantain puree in a large bowl; add the Parmesan, egg and salt. Mix well with a fork.  Then slowly add the flour.

Once all the flour is incorporated, Place 1/6 of the dough on a floured surface and start rolling it as if it were a long snake. Then cut it into small pieces of about 2cm/1inch. Roll them in the palm of your hands to give them more shape. They don’t have to be perfect.  Put the finished gnocchi aside and continue with the rest of the dough.

Once all of the gnocchi is done, drop them into a large pot of boiling salted water. When they start floating around in the top, give them an extra minute and then drain them using a colander.

To make the sauce, heat up the olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add the crème fraiche and cook for another minute stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Going back to the gnocchi, you’ll have to pan-fry them in batches.  In order to get a nice even golden color you can’t to overcrowd the pan.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick pan, over medium heat. Add about ½ of the boiled gnocchi and fry them until they have a light brown crust on both sides.  Then remove from the heat and repeat for the remaining gnocchi.

To plate the gnocchi, place a bit of the crème fraiche sauce on a plate. Then add the gnocchi and top with some of the bacon crumbs and a few thyme leaves.

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