(Greek rice-stuffed tomatoes)
Stuffed vegetables of all kinds are a common addition to tables in the eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and Middle East. Ripe, red tomatoes make a succulent container for an herb-seasoned rice stuffing in this Greek recipe for domates yemistes (ντομάτες γεμιστές). Adding ground beef or lamb to the filling makes a fine main dish for meat eaters.
4 to 6 servings
- Round tomatoes -- 6
- Olive oil -- 1/4 cup, plus more for drizzling
- Scallions, finely chopped -- 5 or 6
- Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Rice -- 1 cup
- Water, stock or white wine -- 1/2 cup
- Dill or oregano, finely chopped -- 2 tablespoons
- Parsley, finely chopped -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Feta, crumbled or Parmesan cheese, grated -- 1/3 cup
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice off and reserve the top 1/2 inch of each tomato. Use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out the inside of each tomato, leaving a shell of about 1/2 inch thick. Remove as many of the seeds as you can from the pulp and set it aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan or skillet over medium flame. Add the onions, scallions and garlic and saute until the onions are cooked through and translucent but not browned, around 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the rice to the onions, stirring for about a minute. Stir in the reserved tomato pulp and water, stock or wine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to partially cook the rice. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the rice mixture loosely into each of the tomatoes to fill them to the top. Sprinkle with a generous sprinkling of cheese and replace the tomato tops onto the stuffed tomatoes.
- Place the tomatoes into a lightly oiled roasting pan or casserole dish that just fits them and add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pan or dish. Drizzle the tomatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the tomatoes in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice and tomatoes are cooked through. If the rice looks like it's getting too dry, pour 1 or 2 tablespoons of water over each tomato and return to the oven.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Domates Yemistes Variations
- With Meat: Brown 1/2 pound of ground beef or lamb and add to the rice mixture.
- Herbs: Fresh thyme or basil are other excellent herbs to pair with domates yemistes.
- Other Additions: Try adding toasted pine nuts to the filling. Substitute finely chopped shallots or onions for the scallions if you like.