Gemista or stuffed vegetables is a traditional dish that can be found throughout the country. Some include ground meat and some do not. I prefer mine with no meat. This dish is utterly summery. I can hardly contain myself when I visit the farmers’ market and see all those stands that abound with fresh produce just ripe for this recipe. You would want to select vegetables that are on the big and mature side. If not their flesh won’t roast wright and their flavors won’t melt with the rice inside. You can use any vegetable you prefer as long as it is big and ripe enough. Tomatoes, bell peppers, aubergines, zucchini blossoms, zucchinis are all a good choice.
I will be the first to admit that this is not your average weekday meal. On the contrary, you must have a lot of time in your hands to prepare it. On the other hand, it will last at least 3 days in the fridge and it gets better as it sits since the flavors have the time to mingle.
- 4 large tomatoes
- 4 large green bell peppers
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 2 medium potatoes
- 12 Tablespoons white rice
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- Start by washing your vegetables. Then arrange them in a 9×13 inch or round pan. With a paring knife cut the top of each pepper, remove and discard the seeds. Next cut the top of the tomatoes and spoon out the flesh and seeds into a medium bowl. Using a box grater grate the flesh of the tomatoes and the zucchinis in the same bowl.
- In a medium sized pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute onions until translucent, about 5 min. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add the grated tomato and zucchini mixture and stir to combine. Let it come to a simmer and add the rice. Simmer until most of the tomato juices evaporate and the rice is almost cooked. You want your mixture on the juicy but not runny since it will be baked.
- Add parsley, salt and pepper. Let it stand for 2-3 minutes and using a spoon fill the tomatoes and peppers. If you have some rice left just spread it in the baking dish. Peel potatoes and cut them in 2-inch cubes and place them in between the tomatoes. Drizzle remaining olive oil all over the pan. Add half a cup of water, salt and pepper. Bake for 45 min at 200C.
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