I was inspired by the Basil Garlic Chicken breasts I posted earlier this week and made a second dish out of them. By combining them with whole-grain couscous, string beans and Parmesan cheese, they made a delicious stuffing for bell peppers.
While cooking the chicken breasts I upped the chicken broth, wine and half & half from the amounts in the original recipe so there is enough sauce to flavor the entire filling and keep it from drying out. The creamy basil sauce is flavored with garlic and both dried and fresh basil, flavors that permeate the entire filling.
With hunks of tender, juicy chicken, and soft, fluffy couscous this was a welcome change from the old-fashioned stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice that I grew up on. Any kind of vegetable can be used (I almost used sweet peas) and a little crunch from the addition of sliced almonds or pine nuts would go well too.
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 + 1/2 heaping teaspoons dried basil
1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth, reduced sodium
1/2 cup white wine, optional
1 heaping cup green beans or sweet peas
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous, uncooked
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling over top
4 large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned of ribs and seeds
1. Meanwhile use a meat mallet to pound out chicken breasts to an even thickness, salt and pepper well on each side.
2. In a large deep-sided skillet heat olive oil over low heat, add garlic and saute until fragrant, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn heat up to medium, add dried basil and chicken breasts, cook for five minutes without moving them. Turn chicken breasts over, add chicken broth and wine if using, and green beans, bring to a simmer, cover pan and allow to cook for ten minutes.
3. Meanwhile cook couscous according to package directions.
4. Taste broth and season with salt and pepper as needed, add half and half and fresh basil, simmer for five minutes with lid off until sauce begins to thicken. Remove chicken to a cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces, return to pan along with a heaping cup and 1/3 of cooked couscous and Parmesan cheese, mix well.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set peppers in a large baking pan. Fill each half of pepper with chicken mixture. Drizzle olive oil lightly over each one, sprinkle tops with Parmesan. Add 1/2 cup water to bottom of pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake about 35-40 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional ten minutes. Serve immediately.
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