Yemista

My father believed in cooking in bulk. Why make one meal when for the same effort, you could prepare three or four from the same dish?  Big pots of fassolatha (bean soup), kokkinsto (braised beef) featured in his menu as did his favourite – yemista, baked stuffed vegetables.

Yemista in Greek means ‘filled with’. You can make this recipe with any vegetables that can be stuffed and baked such as tomatoes, capsicums, zucchini and eggplant. Of course Baba made his with meat (what else) but you can omit the mince for a vegetarian version. Just use an extra half cup of rice.

PS What did the yemista say to the dolmades? We're stuffed.

 
6 large tomatoes
3 medium zucchini
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
500g minced beef
1 cup uncooked rice (short or long grain)
1 onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup olive oil
Salt

Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and zucchini and set the tops aside. Scoop out the pulp from the vegetables and reserve the tomato pulp. Season the nside of the vegetables with salt.

Heat half a cup of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic for five minutes. Stir in the tomato pulp and add the mince. Cook until browned. Add the rice, tomato paste and parsley. Stir until combined and remove from heat.

Stuff the tomatoes and zucchini with the rice/mince mixture until three-quarters full. Arrange the vegetables in a baking tray and replace the tops. Place the potato wedges in between the vegetables, season to taste. Pour in the remaining half a cup of oil with half a cup water. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 90 minutes.

Kali orexi (bon appetit).

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