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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin, Couscous and Chorizo Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Peppers

Ever wonder who the first person was that decided to carve a pumpkin?  And who thought eating that hard gourd was even possible? Lucky for us that person (or persons) were inquisitive as we now reap the benefits.

Since pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween I thought we should carry that theme even further into the kitchen with these adorable, delicious stuffed, decorated peppers.

The couscous choice was merely one made based on our upcoming move (the more pantry items we eat, the less we have to pack and move.) Substitute in rice, quinoa or other grain of your choice. After baking, the slightly wilted pepper mixes with the pumpkin, the chorizo, the creamy goat cheese and the tart dried cranberries for a glorious spooky bite.

I've roasted a lot of pumpkins but only recently heard that you don't have to scoop out the insides before roasting, but rather leave the insides in tact and scoop out after roasting. This made me curious so I did a little experiment by roasting half of the pumpkin cleaned out and half not cleaned out. The results were pretty much the the same, a dreamy creamy roasted pumpkin; though I found I preferred cleaning out the pumpkin first, maybe just for nostalgia sake.

Say Boo at your next dinner with these super fun Fat and Happy stuffed pumpkins!

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques:  Choose smaller pie pumpkins over larger carving pumpkins for roasting purposes. Try making this repice with mini peppers for an appetizer.

Haven't roasted a pumpkin before? Pull up a seat and let's review
1. Cut pumpkin in half (power tools encouraged)
2. Scoop out seeds and inside goo (or not)
3. Place on a baking sheet
4. Roast in 400 degree oven until the pumpkin is tender

Pumpkin, Couscous and Chorizo Stuffed 
Jack O'Lantern Peppers

3 peppers
1  cup couscous
1 cup water
1 Tbls olive oil
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin, pureed or mashed
1 shallot, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 chorizo sausage, removed from casing
3 large Swiss Chard leaves, stems removed and chopped
1/2 ounce of goat cheese
3 Tbls dried cranberries, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
1 orange

Over medium heat, crumble the sausage. cook until nearly done. Add in the Swiss chard leaves and continue to cook until the leaves are wilted and the sausage is cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add in the olive oil, the shallots, turmeric, red pepper flakes and the Swiss chard stems, cook a few minutes to soften. Add in the water and the pumpkin, bring to a boil. Add the couscous, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for just under 10 minutes, just to keep the couscous el dente.

Add in the sausage and Swiss chard mixture, the cranberries and the goat cheese. If the couscous seems too thick, add in another 1/4 cup of water.

While the couscous is cooking, clean and cut the peppers. Cut a hole around the stem (as you would a pumpkin) taking out the inside seeds and veins. Cut a face in the pepper, throw the pepper cut outs in couscous mixture.

Squeeze the orange into the bottom of a shallow dish. Fill each pepper with the couscous mixture, top with the pepper stem and set into the dish with orange juice.

Place in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Drizzle the juice over the peppers, add a handful of chopped parsley or cilantro. Enjoy.

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