One of the most famous Greek recipes is the one for gemista. It is a summer dish, since all the necessary ingredients are in abundancy and good quality during the warm months of the year. Below follows the recipe:
Recipe for 4 people (12 stuffed vegetables)
- 6 bell peppers (can be either green or yellow)
- 6 large and firm tomatoes
- 250 ml olive oil
- 1 onion chopped into small pieces
- 1 small carrot minced
- 230 gr rice (preferable long grain)
- Chopped Parsley leaves
- 4 small potatoes
- 2 finely chopped zucchinis
- 500 gr minced meat (veal or beef) *
* Minced meat is not necessary for this recipe. Some people choose not to include it in order to avoid eating too much meat while others really like it! It is up to you!
First of all, rinse the tomatoes and the peppers. Cut the top part of the vegetables and with a small spoon try to remove all the inner part of the vegetables. Especially in the tomatoes, make sure to remove as much flesh as possible without damaging the tomato though. Peppers are far more easy to scoop.
Place the tomatoes and the peppers with their lids in the baking pan that you will use.
In a food processor add the inside of the tomatoes that you just removed and make it a pulp.
In a saucepan, add the olive oil (keep about 50ml for later) and heat the pan in medium heat. When it starts to shimmer (in about 3 minutes) add the onion and leave it to sauté for 2 minutes. It will be ready when it gets a bit gold and starts to smell. Then add the carrot and the minced meat. If you decide to include the minced meat, wait until you see that it starts becoming light brown, if you add only the carrot wait until it gets soft.
The next step is to add the tomato pulp along with the rice, the parsley (make sure it is chopped), salt and pepper. During all this time, you need to mingle the ingredients with a wooden spoon. As we all know, rice needs a lot of water in order to be cooked. So, if you see that the vegetables did not produce enough liquids you need to add ½ cup of water. The filling needs to be quite moisture so do not worry if you end up with a lot of water.
Allow the mixture to boil in medium heat and when the rice is ready (but still crispy) remove from the heat and let it cool.
Preheat your oven in 200 degrees of Celsius (390 Fahrenheit.
Take the tomatoes and the peppers and with a spoon, with them up to ¾. Add the lids on top of them and place them on the ban. Take the potatoes and chop them in small pieces and add them in between the tomatoes and peppers. Add some olive oil and water on top of the vegetables and bake them for about 1 hour.
Ready to serve!