A favourite greek dish for many Greeks is "Gemista", which means "stuffed" and we mean Stuffed Vegetables of course. For "Gemista", we usually use peppers, tomatoes or zucchinis. They are stuffed with rice and ground beef. This is one of my family's favourite recipe and trust me, it is the ultimate taste!!!
I really enjoy "Gemista" with feta cheese, tzatziki and kalamata olives!
10-12 pieces of:
green, red, yellow Pepper
For the Filling:
1 big Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, chopped
200 gr. chopped Tomatoes (fresh or can)
500 gr. ground Beef
400gr. parboiled Rice
1 Vegetable Cube
1/2 bunch Parsley, chopped
400 ml water
30 ml Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Sugar
For Stuffed Vegetables
Cut the top part from the tomatoes to make a kind of a "lid". Using a spoon, remove the flesh from the tomatoes. Save the flesh in a bowl and set aside, until needed.
Transfer tomatoes to a baking pan (36x28).
Cut the top part from the peppers and remove seeds and ribs. Transfer them to the baking pan with the tomatoes.
For the Filling
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a food processor add onion and garlic and beat until minced. In a small bowl save 1/3 from this mixture to use it when needed.
In a bowl add the flesh you removed from the tomatoes and mix with chopped can-tomatoes. 1/3 from the tomatoes, add it to the bowl with the 1/3 of the onion-garlic mixture. Add some parsley, 10 ml olive oil and mix. Set aside.
Place a medium pot over high heat, let it get hot and add 20 ml olive oil.
Add onion and garlic and sauté.
Add ground beef, mix with a wooden spoon and break up the ground beef. Cook, while mixing for 2-3 minutes.
Now add 2/3 from the onion-garlic mixture and rice and mix for approx. a minute.
Add tomatoes, water,parsley, vegetable cube, salt and pepper and lower heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until all moisture evaporates and rice is almost cooked.
To fill vegetables, first season the inside with salt, pepper and some sugar.
Fill vegetables to the rim and cover with their "lids".
If filling-mixture left, add it in the oven pan between the vegetables. (If there is no filling left, you can optionally add some potatoes between the vegetables).
Now add the tomato-mixture over the vegetables.
Add 1 cup water, season with salt, pepper and some sugar.
Cover oven pan with a baking paper and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove baking paper and bake for another 45 minutes, until vegetables become golden.