The layers of flavor upon flavor, the ripe tomatoes, the mint and spices, the onion and ground beef, the goat cheese and pine nuts. It's not as easy as grilled cheese, but if you can cook, this one's worth it.
Yemista in Greek refers to "stuffed tomatoes" or "stuffed peppers," or you may use zucchini blossoms. Yemista are vegetables stuffed with rice and pine nuts and spices, some with ground beef and all of them roasted. Every nation has stuffed tomatoes, and they're all quite wonderful and different. So before you accuse me of cultural chauvinism, let's give credit where it is due:The Aztecs.
Yes, the Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice, but they loved chocolate too. And sports, although when a team lost a ballgame, the losers often lost their heads.
Tomato Envy: If you suffer, you're not alone
Tomato Envy: If you suffer, you're not alone
But don't dare condemn the Aztecs, because they improved humanity by cultivating the glorious tomato, which eventually made its way across the world ending up in your backyard garden.
Now let's make Teena's Yemista.
Tomatoes: Slice the top of each tomato, take a serrated knife to begin coring out the tomato and then use a spoon. Do not puncture the tomato skin. Save the pulp and seeds and juice in a mixing bowl. When finished coring the tomatoes, puree the pulp in a food processor or blender.
Cover the bottom of a 4-quart large Dutch oven with extra virgin olive oil from Kalamata or Crete. Heat oil until you see wisps of smoke, then add the grated onion, carrot and garlic to saute. Sweat this mixture for about five minutes on medium heat, turning with a wooden spoon or spatula. Do not let the garlic crisp or burn.
Add the ground meat and brown it well. As the liquid reduces, add the wine and half of the pureed tomato. Lower to a simmer and add your spices (the cinnamon, allspice cloves, nutmeg, Sriracha), liberally add salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for one hour. Then preheat your oven to 375.
As your meat filling simmers (you can make the filling one day ahead), take another sauce pan or Dutch oven, put 1/4 cup extra virgin Kalamata or Cretan olive oil on the bottom over medium heat.
When wisps of smoke begin to form, add the mirepoix (celery, carrots, onions). Saute for 5 minutes, then add the cup of rice, the garlic, fresh parsley, dill and mint, and saute this for a minute or two. Do not let the garlic burn.
Then add all the sauteed vegetables and rice to the meat filling. Add the cup of organic chicken broth, cup of canned crushed tomatoes and the remaining pureed fresh tomatoes.
Stir and cover, simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is half-cooked.
While the pot simmers, prepare the tomatoes:
Put them in a roasting pan. Drizzle the hollowed-out tomatoes with olive oil, put a small pinch of sugar in each and a sprinkle of pine nuts on the bottom of each tomato. Then add a dollop of goat cheese to each.
Spoon in the meat filling halfway, sprinkle more pine nuts on top of that, and then more meat filling. Do not tamp down or pack. Top with more goat cheese, then a sprinkle of pine nuts, drizzle olive oil on the cheese and nuts. Replace the tops of the tomato (or pepper).
With the tomatoes in the roasting pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour covered at 375. Depending on your oven, you may want to cook this at 350. After 1 hour, remove the foil, bake for additional 30 minutes. Check tomatoes for blistering.
Serve with dollops of Total Fage yogurt.
Add a good red wine, a salad of chopped romaine lettuce, freshly chopped dill and chopped green onions, dressed with virgin olive oil, salt, fresh ground pepper and oregano.
Dessert: Fresh fruit, cheese, rich dark coffee, baklava and a fine maduro cigar.
View line-by-line Nutrition Insights™: Discover which ingredients contribute the calories/sodium/etc.
|Serving Size: 1 Serving (2421g)|
|Recipe Makes: 1 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 2782 (57%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 309.1g||412 %|
|Saturated Fat 121.3g||607 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 111.3g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 35.3g|
|Cholesterol 823.3mg||253 %|
|Sodium 2321.4mg||80 %|
|Potassium 6459.8mg||170 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 248.3g||73 %|
|Dietary Fiber 28.4g||114 %|
|Sugars, other 219.9g|
|Protein 243.8g||348 %|
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Disclaimer: Nutrition facts are derived from linked ingredients (shown at left in colored bullets) and may or may not be complete. Always consult a licensed nutritionist or doctor if you have a nutrition-related medical condition.
Calories per serving: 4899
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