Greek Stuffed Tomatoes Macedonian Style (Yemistes Domates)
For me, summer entertaining with friends is all about a table full of mouth-watering foods that are fresh, vibrant, colourful and delectable.
Summer time is the season where all vegetables and fruit trees are in full bloom and the flavours have reached the apex. In my opinion, tomatoes that have had the chance to ripen on the vine under the beautiful Mediterranean sun have a flavour that is so heavenly and addictive at the same time. Our summers in Italy and Spain always include a tomato salad simply seasoned with sea salt and an exceptional quality extra virgin olive oil with fresh bread.
The Mediterranean cuisine is recognised for its endless appetisers. In the Middle East we have the mezze which is a spread of delicious small dishes that are a mix of either vegetarian or meat dishes, such as hummus, mutabal, lib kousa, fasoulia, beet root hummus, kafta, arayes etc... In Spain there are innumerable tapas dishes such as meat balls in a pepper tomato sauce, fried padron peppers, chorizo, jamon, beans, and tuna smothered in onions, fried calamari. In Italy, the antipasti is all about social eating and differs from region to region. In Turkey, meze is always about freshness using a variety of vegetable and yogurt based dishes. The Greeks enjoy their countless mezedakia which, in summer, are all about taking advantage of what mother nature produces and what the animals provide. Macedonian tomatoes are famous and this dish is typical to the region. In Turkey and the Levant there is a very similar dish which is just as delicious, using different ingredients for the stuffing. What I love about these stuffed tomatoes is the fact that they are easy to make, light, delicious and taste better the next day, so you can have hassle free entertaining and prepare them a day ahead. I love serving them alongside some grilled padron peppers lightly salted with fleur de sal, some Greek sheep feta cheese, some beautiful kalamata olives and a salad served with a loaf of freshly baked country bread and a lot of extra virgin olive oil.
- 10 beef tomatoes
- 1 cup short grain rice
- 1 cup onion, diced small
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced small
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped
- 6 green onions, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dill, roughly chopped
- Tomato juice, optional
* Preheat Oven to 180 C fan setting.
* Soak the rice in water for 1 hour then wash under fresh water several times to get rid of the starch until it runs clear. Drain and set aside.
* Cut the tops of the tomatoes off as seen in picture. Do not discard them.
* Hollow the tomatoes reserving the seeds and any juices then run them through a sieve and reserve the juices only.
* In a pan on medium heat, sauté the onion, peppers and garlic in the olive oil for 3 minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and stir for 1 more minute.
* Add the rice, salt and pepper and stir steadily for 4 to 5 minutes until the rice is translucent, then remove from fire.
* Add the chopped herbs and adjust the salt.
* Fill the tomatoes loosely with the rice mix then top with the reserved tomato juice until full, if the juice is not enough use water or bottled tomato juice.
* Put the lids back on the tomatoes drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake uncovered for 1 hour.
* Check halfway if more juice is needed for the tomatoes and top them up.
* You can follow the same method using bell peppers.
* You can add mincemeat if you fancy just fry it after the onions are sautéed.
Per Serving : 376 Calories; 15g Fat (34.5% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 57g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 986mg Sodium.