Gemista – Stuffed Vegetables
How to make Gemista
- 3 beef tomatoes
- 3 bell peppers
- 200g arborio rice
- 1 large onion
- 3/4 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 3 large potatoes
- bunch parsley
- salt and pepper
- half a teaspoon Greek oregano
- 125ml water
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees centigrade.
Slice off the bottom side of the tomatoes with a sharp knife, cutting about ½ – 1 mm from the edge. This way they can hold more of the filling. Make sure to keep the bottom piece of the tomato, as it will act a lid.
Carefully scoop out the flesh, making sure you do not rip the outer shell. Put the flesh in a separate bowl and set aside until needed.
Place the tomato shells, stem side down with the their lid on in a baking dish.
The next step will be to finely chop the tomato flesh that you scoped out of the tomatoes. Keep them in the bowl until needed.
Slice the tops off of the bell peppers, cutting about ½ – 1 mm under the stem. Remove any flesh and seeds. Arrange them nicely in the baking dish among the tomatoes. Peel the potatoes and cut lengthways in quarters. Place the potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of oregano. Keep aside for later.
For the filling
Place a pan over low to medium heat and add 4 tablespoons olive oil.
Finely chop the onion, add to the frying pan and sauté, until the onion turns translucent. Thinly slice the garlic and add it to the pan. Add a generous amount of salt (1/2 tsp) and freshly ground pepper. You will be adding the rice also and it needs a good amount of seasoning.
Add the rice and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until it turns a light colour. Follow with the reserved tomato flesh. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Finely chop the parsley and add it to the pan. Stir and remove from heat. The rest of the cooking will take place in the oven.
Drizzle the tomatoes and peppers with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, both inside and out, and season with salt and pepper. Using a tablespoon fill the tomatoes and peppers with the rice. Arrange the potatoes in between the tomatoes and peppers. Drizzle all the vegetables with another couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
Finally, add 125ml of water to the dish.
Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour. After an hour check the rice, if it feels hard – cover the dish again with the foil and cook for a further 30 minutes. The rice should now be soft. Remove and discard the foil and bake for another 20 – 30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the stuffed vegetables are crispy and brown on top.
Serve with feta and crusty bread.