Stuffed Tomatoes, Peppers and Grape Leaves (Diane Kochilas)
Rice-and-herb stuffed vegetables are a Greek summer classic, one of the healthiest dishes in Greek cooking. Enjoy it hot, at room temperature or even chilled, with a little Greek yogurt or feta cheese.
1. Wash the vegetables. Take a very sharp knife and slice off the top of each tomato and pepper. Seed the pepper. Keep each vegetable and "cap" together, since the tops will be fit back on when vegetables are stuffed.
2. With a teaspoon, gently scoop out the pulp of each tomato, being careful not to tear the outer skin. Leave a shell thick enough (about ½ inch/1,5 cm) to hold stuffing. Remove seeds, chop pulp, and place, with juices, in a large bowl. Add salt and some sugar inside the hollowed tomatoes, then flip over inside the pan.
3. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté onion, scallions and garlic until translucent. Add the rice and stir frequently until very lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato pulp. Season with salt and pepper. Add herbs, raisins, the cinnamon stick and pine nuts if desired. Reduce heat, cover skillet, and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until rice is softened but not cooked and most of liquid is absorbed. (The mixture should be moist). Remove cinnamon stick; season stuffing with salt and pepper, if needed. Pour in some olive oil and stir.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Stuff the vegetables with rice filling (not all the way to the top because the rice is going to expand during baking) and crown with their own caps. Place in a baking pan, making sure that the vegetables are snug next to one another.
5. Rinse and blanch the grape leaves if you are using fresh ones. Drain while rinsing again in a colander under cold water.
6. Take whatever stuffing remains and use it to fill the grape leaves: Place the leaves vein side up on a work surface. Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the bottom center of each leaf. Fold in the sides and roll up from the bottom, tucking in the top part of the leaf as you go to get a perfect cylinder. Place the stuffed grape leaves seam side down in the spaces between the other stuffed vegetables. Alternatively, if there are any stuffed vegetables missing their caps, top them with a grape leaf.
7. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until vegetables are soft and blistery (for tomatoes and peppers) and rice cooked. Add a little water to pan if needed during baking. Serve warm or cold.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (504g)|
|Recipe Makes: 5 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 66 (38%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 7.3g||10 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.9g||4 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 3.1g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 2.4g|
|Cholesterol 0mg||0 %|
|Sodium 55.4mg||2 %|
|Potassium 1135.9mg||30 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 25.9g||8 %|
|Dietary Fiber 9.1g||36 %|
|Sugars, other 16.9g|
|Protein 6.4g||9 %|
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Calories per serving: 173
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