I made this recipe while I was still in Greece. The full version of it maybe more appropriate for those living in Greece in summer, when veggies are plentiful in the market. I’m putting it up for all of us as an alternative cooking method to the “Stuffed tomatoes” recipe. In “stuffed tomatoes”, I cooked the rice before stuffing the tomatoes. Here the rice goes in the veggies uncooked and more water is added in the pan. I found the recipe in “Gastronomos”, issue 64, signed by Myrsini Labraki. I’m giving you the full recipe in case you get lucky with the veggies. I only stuffed tomatoes, bell peppers, long peppers, and zucchini. In the photo you see what was left…
Veggies for stuffing (pick any)
- 3 tomatoes for stuffing
- 1 tomato, grated to use as sauce
- 4 zucchini
- 2 eggplants
- 3 long peppers
- 3 potatoes
- 15 fresh vine leaves (!)
- 15 zucchini flowers
- 15 vine leaves
- salt, freshly ground pepper
- 30 ml olive oil
- 200 ml water
- 20 tablespoons rice
- 4 pulped onions
- parsley or mint leaves, chopped
- 70 ml olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt, freshly ground pepper
How to make: Prepare the veggies: wash, cut the top or side parts and remove the inside.
For the zucchini, cut and throw up the edges but save the inside parts, cubed.
For the peppers, be sure to remove all seeds.
For the tomatoes, be sure to cut the inside part in cubes and save in a bowl
For the potatoes, cut a top part and a special tool to remove all but a bit more than a quarter inch thick shell (1/2 cm). If you use potatoes cut the removed part in cubes and save it.
Add some salt to the inside parts of the veggies and let them drain upside down on a paper towel for about half hour. While they’re drying, take a big bowl and combine the cubed zucchini, tomato and potato parts, rice, onions, parsley or mint, salt and pepper. Stuff the veggies about 2/3 of the way to leave room for the rice to grow as it cooks. If you use vine leaves, put a teaspoon of the filling on each and fold. You will only need a teaspoon of filling for the zucchini flowers, too. Arrange the stuffed veggies in the pan and any remaining filling in between. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle some olive oil on top. Add the grated tomato and the water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook a pre-heated 320F/160C for about an hour and 15 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or so. Check the filling to see if the rice is cooked. I had to add some water during cooking directly in the veggies to help the rice soften. Maybe because I used fewer veggies (with inside parts) which altered the proportion of rice to the other ingredients in the filling. Keep an eye to be sure and …bon appetite!
Notes and tips: Everybody liked the recipe but to be honest I didn’t find it superior to the less stressful version I posted on “Stuffed tomatoes”. I get peace of mind when I cook the filling and then put the stuffed veggies in the oven only for softening and to get the flavors blended. But I know a lot of people who prefer cooking everything in the oven so pick what works best for you.