Monday, August 18, 2014

Stuffed summer vegetables - Yemista


I know, trust me...

Trust me, even the most finicky eaters will eat this!  This is literally summer, on a dish!  The flavors, literally explode in your mouth!

This is one of the most traditional of Greek recipes, made in all the regions of Greece.  The name "Yemista" literally means "stuffed".  You know my fetish for stuffing things, right?
Every region as I have mentioned before, has their little tips and ever so slight variation of herbs that they use.  Nevertheless, I haven't had one variation that I have not loved and wanted more of.






This dish takes a little bit more time because of the prepping of the veggies, however, it is worth every extra minute.  But I love the fact that it is a one pan meal.  Okay, okay, I can come over and help you!  

Ready for this delicious recipe?  Here we go;

Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: 55-65 minutes
Yield:  6-8 servings

Ingredients:
3-4 fairly large green peppers, seeded
5-6 medium tomatoes
6 medium potatoes, quartered
1 large onion, diced
1-1/2 cups rice
1lb ground beef
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano (if you have fresh even better, add 2 tbsp)
15.5 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs *optional* 
2 cups water

For the potatoes:
-1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp (1/4 cup) olive oil

Directions:
-Wash your vegetables and seed the peppers leaving them intact, set aside.  To your tomatoes, you can cut around the top, leaving it attached by a flap.  I have tried this and my flap always breaks, so I just cut the top part off and play the memory game, where I try and remember which flap belongs to what tomato.  What?

-Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes, seeds and all, RESERVE them.  Cut the bigger pieces into small if need be.  This is what gives this dish the amazing summertime taste.


-In just a few minutes, you should be all done with the hardest part of prepping the peppers and tomatoes.  I highly recommend getting yourself something to drink now.



-Chop your onion and herbs, set aside.

-In a large skillet, add your ground beef and cook till no longer brown.  Add in your onion and cook till just starting to soften.
Let's add in the rice and stir to incorporate.  Pour in 1 cup of water and let simmer for a few minutes.

-Let's add in the inside of the tomatoes.  Can you hear it?  They are singing...



-Pour in the remainder of your water along with your fresh & dried herbs.  Let simmer till water has evaporated.  The rice should be almost cooked, that's how you want it.

-Okay, it's time to play!  Let's stuff the vegetables.  I like to stuff almost to the top, leaving just a little bit of space for the rice to have enough room to continue cooking, does that make sense?

You know how I love stuffed...

-Continue stuffing till all the veggies have been stuffed.   

-In a medium bowl, add your olive oil to the potatoes, salt, pepper and dried oregano, toss to incorporate.  Surround the vegetables with your potatoes.  You can't add the potatoes unseasoned, right?  I know!  Blasphemy I say!

-Pour your tomato sauce over the top of your veggies and a little over the potatoes.  Sprinkle with your breadcrumbs.  


-Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, till the potatoes are cooked thru and you cannot wait to dig in.  



This my friends, is "summertime" in a bite!  The freshness of the filling and the vegetables, the succulence of the potatoes, and that little crunch from the breadcrumbs?  Heaven I say, heaven!
Let's not forget the ease of a one pan meal...




Till next time!

Dishin with Didi