Gemista (roast stuffed veg)
- September 2019
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 1 hour 20 min
This is a really lovely way of using up summer veg. Tomatoes, courgettes and onions are stuffed with cinnamon-spiced pork and rice, then baked low and slow until soft and sticky.
- Dairy-free recipes
- Gluten-free recipes
- Vegetarian recipes
- 5.7g (2g saturated)
- 26.2g (9.4g sugars)
- 6 large tomatoes
- 6 round courgettes (see Know-how)
- 4 medium onions
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 400g British free-range pork mince
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 150g medium grain rice or paella rice
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Handful fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
- Juice 2 lemons
- 600ml chicken stock, hot
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and courgettes (set aside), then scoop out the flesh from the middle. Be careful not to scoop out too much of the tomato or they will fall apart. Put the tomato flesh and the firm flesh from the courgette (discard the seeds) in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Slice the tops from the onions and remove a few inner layers (set aside), leaving 3-4 layers to keep the onion’s shape during baking. Arrange all the hollowed-out veg snugly in a roasting tray, sprinkle the insides with salt, then set aside. Finely chop the inside parts of the onions.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a wide saucepan, add the chopped onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the pork mince to the pan, turn up the heat, then fry until any liquid has evaporated and the pork has turned golden. Add a pinch of salt, then stir in the tomato purée. After a minute, add the scooped-out tomato and courgette, then cook for 2 minutes until most of the juices have reduced (any liquid will be soaked up by the rice). Stir in the rice, dried mint, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley and a pinch of salt. Leave to cool.
- Once cooled, spoon the rice into the prepared veg, filling them about ¾ full (leave room for the rice to expand). Stir the lemon juice into the hot stock, then pour it into the tray so it comes a little way up the sides of the veg. Cover the stuffed veg with the reserved tops, then drizzle with the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil (see Make Ahead).
- Cover the tray tightly with foil, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil, turn up the heat to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 and cook for 20 minutes more until lightly browned on top. Serve straightaway or leave to rest at room temperature to let the flavours develop. Gemista taste even nicer the next day, I think.
Prepare to the end of step 4 up to a day ahead and keep covered in the fridge. Complete recipe to serve. Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to a day. Reheat until piping hot.
Buy round courgettes from good greengrocers or online from Ocado or Abel & Cole. If you can’t find any, use hollowed-out red peppers instead.
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