So … Maggie & her friends went to Santorini for a few days. Before they left I asked her if she would like me to cook for them on their return. “What about Stuffed Tomatoes?” she asked the next morning. “Yes ofcourse!” said the woman living inside my body, who thinks she’s still in her thirties with tons of energy to spare!
So there we all are with two big trays of stuffed veggies and one fairly long preparation process!! And why 2 big trays when one would have been more than enough? Don’t ask, I honestly don’t know! My guess is that having grown up in a fairly large family, my eyes are so used to seeing big quantities that I still can’t judge the correct size of “enough”!
I prepared the veggies one day before, covered the trays well and refrigerated them, ready for stuffing the next day.
So once again, I add the same comment I’ve been making in a lot of my recipes it seems: keep in mind that the quantities below are for 2 large trays (which you see in the pictures) so half or reduce as needed!!!
6 medium potatoes
2 medium onions or 1 large
3 or 4 garlic cloves
a bunch of parsley
500 grs ground beef
round rice (roughly 1 level tablespoon for each vegetable)
4 tsps tomato paste
2 soup cubes dissolved in 2 cups hot water
salt & pepper
first the tomatoes:
wash & dry well, cut the tops off but keep them
scoop out the inside of each tomato (as per picture) & cover it with its own lid
the inside that you scooped out goes into the food processor,
add to it the 4 tsps tomato paste, salt, pepper, a bit of olive oil, and give it a few whirls
put in a bowl and set aside for later.
Next the eggplant:
if they’re large, cut it in two first, cut a topper for each, level a bit of the bottom (so it can stand in the tray without toppling over), and start scooping out the inside (as per picture)
make sure you have a top for each
the inside that you scooped out goes into the food processor
chop roughly and put it in a frying pan
next put the onions & garlic and process as well
add to the eggplant in the frying pan
salt, pepper, some oil, and saute lightly just to blend well and release the flavours
put the mixture in a large bowl and set aside for later
Next the peppers:
cut off tops, clean out the inside veins, & cover each with its own lid
Now the main work has been done!! you can stop here, cover the lot very well, and keep refrigerated till next day.
Next the potatoes:
peel and cut, put in a tray, salt, pepper, olive oil and mix together.
For the stuffing:
In your large bowl that contains the eggplant/onion/garlic mixture, add the following:
a few tbsps of the tomato mixture in Note 1* above
1 cup prepared broth
salt, pepper, & a bit of olive oil
mix very well with your hands
you might need to add some water if necessary (the mixture should be on the loose side, not firm and packed together like a hamburger).
Now you’re ready to assemble.
Stuff each veggie, leaving a little bit of room at the top (see pictures), cover each with its lid and place in a tray
wedge the potatoes in between the veggies to fill the spaces and to keep the veggies straight up
pour the rest of the sauce in Note 1* above all over the veggies & the potatoes
Place uncovered in a 200centigrade oven and bake till done. It should take around 1.5 to 2 hours.
Every half hour I get the tray out, and baste each veggie with the liquid that has now formed all around it. A turkey baster does the job perfectly.
I check the sides of some of the veggies with the edge of a sharp knife every now & then to make sure its done. I also taste a smidgen of the stuffing to ensure that the rice is ready.
When the tops are nicely coloured, take the tray out, and cover it well with silver foil to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.