Gemista (which in Greek means “filled with”) is a delicious Greek recipe for stuffed vegetables with rice and mince, baked until soft and nicely browned.
This juicy and tasty meal bursting with fresh flavours and vibrant colours is a great meal all year round and is by far one of the country’s most loved dishes.
Almost every Greek household has its own version and here is a delicious family recipe that is easy to try.
Keep in mind the amount of vegetables here is just a guide- you can add more or less depending on the size of your dish, which veggies you prefer, plus what you can get your hands on! Whatever is in season is always best!
– 10 x large tomatoes
– 3 x medium zucchinis (cut in half)
– 2 x red capsicums
– 2 x green capsicums
– 1 x eggplant (cut in half)
– 2 x large potatoes peeled and cut in wedges
– 1/2 sweet potato peeled and sliced in wedges
– 400 grams lean beef mince
– 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
– 1 large onion, minced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
– 1 tablespoon of medium grain rice, per vegetable (14 tablespoons were used here)
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1 cup of water
– salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the stuffing-
-Using a spoon, scoop out the inside of the tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant and capsicums. Puree all the fillings with a hand blender until you have a thick liquid. Set aside.
-Add olive oil and onion in a large skillet and sauté for a minute. Add mince and stir till brown. Include the garlic and parsley and mix thoroughly- about a minute.
-Add the blended vegetable filling, tomato paste, rice, 1/2 cup of water, salt and pepper and stir for a minute. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce- the uncooked rice will begin to absorb the excess liquid as it cooks.
STUFFING THE VEGETABLES-
-Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
-Assemble the vegetables in a baking dish and use the potatoes and sweet potato wedges to keep the eggplant, tomatoes, zucchinis and capsicums upright.
-Fill the tomatoes, eggplant, capsicums and zucchini about 3/4 of the way with the filling. Pour the remaining puree in the bottom of the dish and add 1/2 cup of water. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
-Cover dish with baking paper and aluminum foil. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until the vegetables have become tender and cooked through. Uncover dish and pop back in the oven for 1o minutes on low heat for the vegetables to brown nicely.
*Recipe and images by flavoursandflair.com