Stuffed Peppers with Beef and Fennel

When I lived in the U.S. I used to buy a tiny round pasta called Acini di’Pepe or Frog’s Eyes.

I can’t get that here.

I few years ago I started hearing about Israeli couscous.

I was clueless. I started looking for large couscous and found pearl couscous….. Which looked exactly like Acini di’Pepe… Which looked like Israeli couscous..

I bought it and it acted like Acini di’Pepe – I cooked it the same way and it worked.

I never saw it again.

Then we moved here and I found it again but with yet another name… Which I don’t remember. I don’t have the package. I just know that I can find it in the Portuguese section on my supermarket.

Next time I buy it I’ll update this post with the name…. Try to contain your excitement.

Regardless of what it’s called, it’s little, tiny, round pasta.

Stuffed Peppers with Beef and Fennel

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 8oz (240gr) ground beef
  • 1 medium or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 cup pearl couscous
  • 8oz (250gr) peeled, chopped tomatoes, with juices, about 2 medium
  • 3/4 (180ml) beef stock
  • 2 – 3 nicely shaped bell peppers

Stuffed Peppers


  • Cut peppers in half the long way (try to find the best flat sides before cutting so that they will lay nicely) and remove stem end and seeds.
  • Blanch in boiling boiling water for 5 minutes.
  • Remove (use tongs) and put into a baking dish.
  • In medium skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, fennel, garlic and sauté 5 minutes.
  • Add chili powder and stir briefly.
  • Add beef and sauté until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Add tomatoes, beef stock, herbs, and couscous to skillet. Stir well.
  • Turn heat to low, cover and simmer until couscous is done, 10 – 15 minutes depending on couscous. Stir frequently and add water if needed.
  • When ready spoon mixture into the pepper halves. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400F (200C).
  • Remove from oven and serve.

Print Recipe

Our furnace / boiler / chauffage is not working. (American, British, French terms for the thing that provides heat)

I called the guy to come and fix it and he told me I was wrong.

That happens here a lot. The idea that the ‘customer is always right’ has never found it’s way to France.

I remember a few years ago I was trying to install French internet TV. I got the box working but all I could get to play was the weather channel.

I called for help.

While I waited (it always takes forever) I was watching YouTube videos and mon mari was watching a Netflix movie. When they finally answered I explained my problem.

I was told that they were not streaming the internet TV to me because I didn’t have adequate bandwidth to watch it.

I said that I thought I did because, at that very moment I was watching a video and a movie.

They said: No you’re not.

I said: Yes I am. Really. YouTube and Netflix.

They said: No you’re not.

And that was that. According to what they thought they knew it would be impossible for me to be doing that therefore I was not doing that. End of conversation.

Back to the lack of heating…..

I was told that the pump would not circulate the hot water to the radiators if the outside temperature was above 20C (68F).

I said I knew that but the night before had been 6C (42F) and it didn’t work. And it wasn’t working in the morning when it was 10C (50F).

He said I must be wrong. End of conversation.

I think, when I call back, I’ll tell him I saw smoke coming from the pump. At least that ought to get him to stop by just to shut me up. Once he’s here, in person, he’s always very nice and helpful. It’s just getting to that point that can be challenging.

I still don’t have French TV…..

Thankfully, there’s Netflix and Hulu and HDTV and, and, and….

Also, thankfully, the weather has warmed.

Last update on October 6, 2017

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