Stuffed Vegetables

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    6–8

Appears in

Falling Cloudberries

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2004

  • About

This is a wonderful colourful tray of mixed vegetables, which you can vary according to what’s easily available and in season (you could use only tomatoes or try mixed colours of peppers). These can be made in advance and served at room temperature or warmed up before serving if you prefer. I’ve used a combination of tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, which can be halved or divided, so that everyone gets a taste of each.

Ingredients

  • 900 g (2 lb) minced (ground) beef and pork
  • 2 large red onions, finely grated
  • 15 g (½ cup) chopped parsley
  • 250 g (1⅓ cups) uncooked short-grain rice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus 125 ml (½ cup) extra
  • 1 heaped teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6–8 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 peppers (capsicums)
  • 4 zucchini (courgettes)
  • 4 potatoes, cut in half lengthways and then into halves or thirds
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • juice of half a lemon

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Put the meat in a large bowl with the onions, parsley, rice, 4 tablespoons of oil, paprika, mint, pepper and salt.

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and keep them on one side. Hollow out the insides of the tomatoes with a teaspoon (a pointed one is easiest), holding them over a bowl to catch the juice. Chop up the pulp and add to the meat with half of the juice from the tomatoes. Keep the rest of the juice. Sit the tomatoes on a large oven tray.

Cut away a top hat from each pepper, leaving a hinge of a couple of centimetres (¾ inch) on one side. Scoop out the seeds and throw them away, but save any of the fleshy pepper bits that you can. Chop up this flesh and add it to the meat. Put the peppers on the tray — it doesn’t matter if they don’t sit flat, they can lie down.

Cut away a hat from each zucchini and scrape out the flesh with a pointed teaspoon. Chop this up and add it to the meat. Put the zucchini on the tray. (Or, cut the zucchini in half and scrape out a hollow from each side with a potato peeler or pointed spoon, so that you have the two hollowed-out halves, now upright.)

Holding the meat bowl with one hand, mix thoroughly with your other hand, turning the meat filling from the bottom of the bowl up, so that it is all well combined. Fill the hollowed-out vegetables with the meat filling, using your hands or a tablespoon, until the mixture is flush with the tops. Don’t overstuff them: wait and see that they have all been filled and then you can go back and add a bit more here and there. Add the potatoes around the vegetables.

Pour the remaining 125 ml (½ cup) oil into the remaining tomato juice and add the butter, lemon juice and 375 ml ( cups) water. Mix together and pour carefully over and around the vegetables. Put the tops back on the vegetables and sprinkle with salt, especially the potatoes.

Bake for about 1¼–1½ hours, until the vegetables are golden and darkened in places and seem soft even at the bottom. (If your vegetables dry out, add a little extra water, but this shouldn’t be necessary.) These should not be served really hot: turn the oven off and leave them in there for at least 15 minutes before serving (they are best if you can manage to leave them in for a couple of hours). They are good at room temperature, or even the next day.