Stuffed Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 100 g/4 oz sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthways
  • 4 slices of boneless lamb (same weight as the chicken)
  • 4-5 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • butter
  • 100 g/4 oz white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • generous ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 aubergines, as near round as possible
  • 4 round courgettes, if possible, or the bottom half of 4 large courgettes
  • 4 large round tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken or veal stock
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • sea salt and black pepper

Method

Gently sauté the sundried tomatoes in olive oil for about 15 minutes, then set aside to cool in their oil.

Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan until very hot and sear the chicken breasts and lamb on both sides until they are nicely chargrilled. The meat must be raw in the middle because it is going to be cooked again and will be too dry if overcooked at this stage. Leave the meat to cool, then, using a large knife and not a food processor, chop very finely. Put into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Next fry the shallots and garlic in butter until golden, then add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook until tender. Stir this mixture into the chopped meat. Add the parsley and Parmesan cheese and mix together. Season to taste.

Rub the aubergines with a little oil, salt and pepper, then roast in an oven preheated to its highest temperature for about 20 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool. Meanwhile, blanch the courgettes in lightly salted boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain well and leave to cool. Cut the top off the tomatoes and scoop out and discard the flesh and pips. Now divide the meat and mushroom mixture into three. Cut the top off the aubergines, scrape out the pulp and mix with the first portion of stuffing. Ditto for the courgettes. But for the tomatoes you add the chopped sundried tomatoes to their separate pile of stuffing. Stuff the vegetables with their appropriate mixtures, place in a well-oiled baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and lemon juice and a few knobs of butter and bake in an oven preheated to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 or 30 minutes, until the vegetables are nicely browned. They can be eaten hot with the juices from the baking tray or served cold with a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.

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