Gemista – Stuffed tomatoes and peppers
The following is by far my favourite Greek Dish. Ok this and souvlakia which hopefully I will manage to do at some point… Well, both ways Gemista is a recipe I really like to cook and one of the most traditional Greek recipes you can find.
It takes a lot of time though and needs some preparation, so don’t start to do it if you really don’t have time.
Nevertheless if you try it once, I am sure you will try it again… Just before we go to the ingredients, a simple note, the size of the peppers and tomatoes must be more or less the same or else its possible some of them not be rightly cooked..
INGREDIENTS FOR GEMISTA (Stuffed tomatoes and peppers)
- 500gr of minced meat beef
- 4-5 beef tomatoes and 1 pepper
- 1 cup of rice
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small bunch of parsley chopped
- Olive Oil, salt, pepper
- 1 can of tomato juice.
First of all we need to make the stuffing that we are going to fill in the vegetables.
We need to cut the tomatoes making a little “hat” on top of them and with a spoon to remove all of its inside. Dont throw it away,we will need it!
So go ahead and grab a deep frying pan and add 2 tea spoons of olive oil and in medium heat throw in the onions and the garlic. Let them sizzle a bit and stir them. Be careful not to burn them.
Throw the minced meat in and stir it well until it becomes brownish. Add Salt, pepper and 2-3 teaspoons of oregano. Pour the tomato juice and the inside juice from the tomatoes you have removed. Let it cook for 5-6 minutes making sure you stir it in the mean time.
Add the rice and then fill the frying pan with water and let it boil. Let it cook and taste it in the mean time to make sure that the rice is cooked..
As it is being cooked the water will evaporate and a lit bit before its done you should add the chopped parsley removing it from the heat.
You need to stuff the tomatoes and the peppers with the mixture. Take a spoon and simple add the mixture inside but dont over do it because that might crack the tomatoes.
When you fill them, you need to close the tomatoes and peppers with the tops.
Bake it in a preheated oven for around an hour…an hour and a half. Make sure that your pan, has always a bit of water in it. For the pan i have on the picture i just added a glass. The water evaporates making sure the tomatoes are getting softer.
When the vegetables become slightly blackened on the sides then it’s ready. Don’t serve it immediately but let it “mellow” for some minutes. It is best done with oven baked potatoes which you can add in the same pan.
This is typically a summer food that you can have even cold. Hope you enjoy it!In Greece many people debate whether Gemista should be served with minced meat or without making them a purely Vegetarian food. As if we didn’t had any other reasons to fight… Either way you do it, it is still a great dish especially for the summer when tomatoes and peppers are at their best!