Friday, January 27, 2012

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse

When my husband and I were in Paris, we ate at a restaurant that was located right across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The view was spectacular, the food was even better. We ate outside on the balcony of the restaurant and sat entranced by the twinkling lights of the tower. The meal was one of the best we ever had in our lives. I've eaten mostly all my favorite meals in Paris actually. That is why I have such a profound respect for the culinary expertise of French cuisine. At this restaurant the one particular dish that my husband and I could not get enough of was a simple roasted red pepper with herbed goat cheese. The goat cheese was so fresh and creamy, it tasted more like a dessert mousse then cheese and the peppers were roasted perfectly, they were soft but still firm enough to hold the goat cheese. The flavors paired perfectly. This is my recreation of this hors d'oeuvres, to remind me of the romantic nights I spent Paris. 

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse 



I chose orange peppers, but red would work great too. I picked smaller sized peppers since this is an appetizer, you don't want each portion to be too large. I have never roasted my own peppers at home, but read how easy it was to do so I decided to give it a whirl. It was very easy and something I will be doing from now on. No more need to buy jarred roasted peppers when fresh is always better and cheaper. 

Preheat the broiler to low. Start by thoroughly cleaning the peppers. Leaving them whole, lay them on a baking sheet. Place them under the broiler till you see the skin begin to bubble and brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the peppers over and wait the same amount of time for that side. Repeat till all sides of pepper are roasted to your liking. 


Remove them from the oven and place the peppers in a zip lock back. Seal the bag and place it on the counter to "steam". Essentially what is happening is the peppers let off their heat and loosen the roasted skin making it easier to remove. The peppers should stay in the sealed bag for about 25 minutes. Then carefully remove the skin by peeling it away and discard. You will also need to carefully remove the stem and seeds from the inside of the pepper. I did this by cutting around the perimeter of the stem and then pulling the stem off and with it majority of the seeds. You can get the rest of the seeds out with your hand. 


While the peppers are "steaming" for 25 minutes the herbed goat cheese can be made. First whip the heavy whipping cream into a fluffy consistency, similar to whip cream. In a separate bowl blend the goat cheese till smooth. Fold the whip cream into the goat cheese. Next finely chop up your fresh herbs. I used thyme, rosemary, and chives. Mix the herbs into the goat cheese mousse. 


Fill a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with one corner snipped about 1/2", with the herbed goat cheese mousse. Insert the open end of the bag into the hole of the pepper (where the stem used to be) and squeeze. Fill the pepper with the mousse till it is full. 


Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a sprig of thyme and serve. Depending on the size of your peppers I would say that two people can share one pepper, since the goat cheese is so rich and creamy.


Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse 
Makes: 8 servings  |  Prep Time: 15 minutes  |  Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
4 whole peppers, small 
4 oz goat cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh chives
balsamic vinegar for drizzling

1. Preheat the broiler to low. Clean peppers thoroughly. Leaving them whole, lay them on a baking sheet. Place them under the broiler till you see the skin begin to bubble and brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the peppers over and wait the same amount of time for that side. Repeat till all sides of the peppers are roasted to your liking. 

2. Remove them from the oven and place the peppers in a zip lock back. Seal the bag and place it on the counter to "steam". The peppers should stay in the sealed bag for about 25 minutes. 

3. Then carefully remove the skin by peeling it away and discard.Carefully remove the stem and seeds from the inside of the pepper by cutting around the perimeter of the stem and then pulling the stem off and with it majority of the seeds. You can get the rest of the seeds out with your hand. 

4. While the peppers are "steaming" for 25 minutes the herbed goat cheese can be made. First whip the heavy whipping cream into a fluffy consistency, similar to whip cream. In a separate bowl blend the goat cheese till smooth. Fold the whip cream into the goat cheese. 

5. Next finely chop up your fresh herbs. Mix the herbs into the goat cheese mousse. 

6. Fill a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with one corner snipped about 1/2", with the herbed goat cheese mousse. Insert the open end of the bag into the hole of the pepper (where the stem used to be) and squeeze. Fill the pepper with the mousse till it is full. 

7. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a sprig of thyme and serve. Bon Appetit!