Greek stuffed vegetables with rice and ground meat (Gemista).
The tradition is thought to have started in the Middle East and Mediterranean, with many variations still eaten today across the region. The Greek word gemista literally means ‘to fill’ or ‘to stuff’, and the dish falls under the “ladera” category as a Greek dish cooked with plenty of olive oil
The recipe for this traditional dish varies from household to household and from tavern to tavern, depending on old family secrets.
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2. Then prepare the vegetables for filling. First, remove the stems and cut the tops off the peppers and tomatoes. Discard the seeds from the peppers and remove the inside of the tomato, which can be used in the minced meat filling.
3. Set the vegetables aside, they will be used as ‘lids’ during cooking.
4. In a large pot over low heat, fry the minced meat with olive oil and chopped onion until the minced meat is golden brown. Then add the spices.
5. Next, add the tomato juice along with the inside of the tomato that you kept while cleaning it and let the mixture boil for 10 minutes.
6. After most of the juice has been absorbed, remove from the heat. Add the rice and mint and stir to combine with the rest of the mixture.
7. Fill the vegetable shells with the mixture and place their tops so that each vegetable is “closed”.
8. Place all the vegetables in a large pan and pour the remaining juice from the mixture into the pan.
9. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Tip: in addition to tomatoes and peppers, you can fill with the mince mixture zucchini or eggplants, the inside of which is used in the mince mixture during frying.
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