Greek Style Rice Stuffed Tomatoes And Bell Peppers.

I love stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers! It is not an easy dish to make so it should be made on a Sunday when we have no plans to go out or have nothing to do. This dish is international.  Every country makes it, its own style. This is the Greek house-wife recipe.

You will need :
Serves 6
-  10 medium 1.850 kg tomatoes. They have to be firm but ripe.
-   6 bell peppers 900 gr.
-  2 Tbsp tomato paste.
-  7 cloves of garlic 40 gm passed through the garlic press.
-  2 big onions 300 gm finely chopped.
-  2 good sized fresh onions finely chopped.
-  50 gm pine nuts slightly roasted.
-  150 gm Greek black currants.
-  1½ cups (300 gm) easy cooking rice. 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 bunch parsley finely chopped.
- ½ bunch fresh coriander finely chopped.
-  1/4 tsp nutmeg.
-  Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1½cups good olive oil.
-  4 Potatoes peeled and cut into wedges. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper and mix to coat all wedges.
 - 3cups from the resulting emptying the tomatoes.
-2 Tblsp brown sugar added to the bottom of each empty tomato shell).

-  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 sauté.
-  Add the garlic, the tomato puré, the tomato paste, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix to homogenize.
-  Add finely chopped parsley and fresh coriander and mix well.
-  Add black currents fresh mint and simmer covered for 10 minutes
-  Wait for tomato, onion /rice  mixture to cool before filling  the tomatoes and bell peppers.
-  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.
-  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 ).  
Do not add any water. If the rice is not yet cooked it means that they still need to stay in the oven. If they have taken too much color, then put a sheet of aluminum foil on top.

Bon Appétit,



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