Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes And Green Bell Peppers Greek Style...Totally Vegetarian

Ok the day has finally arrived when M is going to share with you her recipe for stuffed tomatoes and green bell peppers with rice etc. Λαδερά

This dish is international.  Every country makes them, but...in their own style.  M is going to share with you the Greek house-wife recipe.


You will need :
Serves 6
-  8 medium 1.850 kg tomatoes. They have to be firm but ripe.
-   6 6ell peppers 900 gr.

-  2 Tbsp. tomato paste.
-  7 cloves of garlic 40 gms. passed through the garlic press.
-  2 big onions 300 gms. well liquified.
-  50 gms. pine nuts slightly roasted.
-  150 gms. of Greek black currants.
-  1½ cups (300 gms.) easy cooking rice. (Blue Rose) If not found ask for rice used for stuffing.
-  3-4 Tbsp. fresh mint cut very small with mezzaluna or multiple bladed scissors as per photo.
 -  1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
-  Salt and pepper to taste.
-  1½ cups good olive oil.
-  4 Potatoes peeled and cut into wedges. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper and mix to coat all wedges.
 -  3 cups from the resulting emptying the tomatoes.
-  2 Tblsp. caster sugar. ( added to the bottom of each empty tomato shell).
-  100 gms fetta cheese cut in small cubes to mix in with the bell peppers stuffing.
Method:
-  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
-  Wash the tomatoes and the green pepper with lots of water and leave to drain.
 -  Cut the upper part of each tomato and pepper from the stem side (to form a little hat).  The bell pepper stem will come out with all the seeds. Cut off the seeds and dispose, and keep the "lid" .
Note: To help not to lose time and get mixed up with the lids (which one goes where) put each lid in its own body. Then when it is time to fill, place lid next to the body.
-  Using a knife carefully cut the difficult parts of the tomato.
-  Using a sharp edged teaspoon carefully empty the best way you can, the tomatoes from all its contents into a bowl.
-  Using a sharp knife take off the veins in the bell pepper and wash completely empty from any seeds.
-  Arrange into an oven dish and place the wedge potatoes in between them to prevent from toppling over and to improve general taste /  appearance.
 -  Blend the tomato contents previously emptied in the bowl with a vertical blender till it is made into a puré.
-  Strain to get rid of the tomato seeds.
 -  Meanwhile heat 1 cup of the olive oil and brown the pine nuts and immediately after, add the onion which will produce a nice sizzling  sound to saute.
-  Add the garlic, the tomato puré, the tomato paste, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix to homogenize.
-  Add black currents fresh mint and simmer covered for 10 minutes
-  When time is up, remove from heat, remove about 1/3 of the mixtures leaving the black currents behind.
-  Add and mix the rice and start filling your empty tomatoes and pepper shells only ¾ full.  Do not pack the rice leaving it aerated.
 -  Cover tomatoes and peppers with their respective lids.
-  Pour the rest of the sauce and some olive oil over the whole lot.
-  Bake for 2½ hours in the second lower shelf of the oven or until rice is cooked.
 -  If you like your food slightly charred (like I do) move your tray to a higher level in your oven after 1½ hour but cover first with oven proof paper and then with aluminum to prevent from burning.
-  If not keep it where it is.
-  At the end of the time, turn off the oven and leave the dish inside the oven until completely cooled.
Tips:
-  They usually taste much better eaten the next day hot or cold.
-  You can replace the fresh mint with fresh parsley if you wish.
-  You can discard the little hats if they seem too dark for you. ( I love them ).  
WARNING :
DO NOT ADD ANY WATER. IF THE RICE IS NOT YET COOKED IT MEANS THAT THEY STILL NEED TO STAY IN THE OVEN. Although they should be ready.
Bon Appétit,
Stelio









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