Showing posts with label peppers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peppers. Show all posts

Traditional stuffed peppers and tomatoes - Gemista

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes is a very traditional and popular summer dish in Greece while the vegetables are in season. This is also one of my favorite Greek dishes. The tomatoes are medium size, firm, ripe and juicy. The peppers are small and so tender that you don’t need to peel the skin when cooked. I have experimented with different type of peppers. There are only two types that can be stuffed; bell peppers and cubanelle peppers. Cubanelle peppers have thinner skin than the regular bell peppers. I find them the closest to the peppers I find in Greece.

My mother used to make mainly peppers and tomatoes, but the peppers were the only ones I would eat. Sometimes she’d stuff eggplants too. The eggplants in Greece are also small; what we call here in the US baby eggplant. When my mother made this dish during the summer, she made it mainly vegetarian. On occasion she’d use ground beef. The vegetarian version is with rice and different vegetables. When I make the vegetarian version, I use chopped carrots, and if I stuff zucchini or eggplant, I will incorporate the flesh in the stuffing along with herbs like parsley and dill.

There are many different versions of gemista – or yemista. My mother in law used raisins and pine nuts in the vegetarian version. The raisins give them a sweeter taste and the pine nuts some crunch.

I often make this delectable stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplant dish. Living in the US we can find these vegetables year round, (they are being shipped here from warmer climates). Sometimes I will make them vegetarian style, and other times I will use ground turkey. I usually make enough so that I can give some to my daughters. They also freeze well, especially the peppers. Tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini are best eaten first if you are planning in freezing some. You can place the uncooked stuffed peppers in a separate dish, cover them tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them. When you need them you can take them out, pour some olive oil, a little bit of tomato sauce, season and bake them in the oven. They will taste as good as the day you made them. Another option is to cook all of them, and freeze the stuffed peppers in an airtight container. When you need them, you can take them out of the freezer early in the morning, then warm them up in the oven for about ½ hour till heated through. Now you have dinner ready in minutes.

These will take an hour to prepare and about two hours to cook in the oven. But it’s worth all the effort. Enjoy them with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a slice of feta and some fresh crusty bread on the side. A glass of red wine will also go nicely.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers, Tomatoes and Baby Eggplant

Makes 13 servings about 15 oz each serving

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 lbs ground turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped eggplant (the flesh)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (the flesh)
½ cup rice
3 large tomatoes
5 cubanelle peppers
5 baby eggplants
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz diced tomatoes

Directions
Wash, clean and peel the baby eggplant (as you see in the picture).   Hollow out the eggplant and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the tomatoes. Hollow out the tomatoes and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the cubanelle peppers, cut the top, and remove the seeds. Set aside. Wash, peel and chop the onion. Set aside. Wash, peel and shred the carrots. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley and the dill. Set aside.

In a large skillet add the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the chopped onions. Sauté till lightly browned. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till cooked through. Add the carrots and the flesh from the eggplant and sauté. Add 1 cup of the diced tomato flesh. Add the 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup water and cook till the rice is slightly cooked. Add the salt and pepper. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large oven proof pan, 13x10 assemble the vegetables. Take one by one and fill with the mixture. When the pan is full and all the vegetables are stuffed, drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, the remaining cup of the chopped tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes. Add 1 can (14 oz) of water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours, uncovered, till the vegetable are tender and slightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 15.708 oz (445.3g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272
Calories from Fat 124
Total Fat 13.8g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 139mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.8g
Dietary Fiber 10.5g
Sugars 9.8g
Protein 13.8g 







It has been a long time since I published anything on my Greek Fusion Cuisine blog.  But it’s been a busy and yet wonderful summer.  Not that I didn’t cook or barbeque.  I did plenty of those.  But we had such wonderful weather, that I didn’t want to be inside in front of a computer.  And, truly, I haven’t forgotten you, dear followers. 

Our summer this year was amazing.  I don’t ever remember a summer in Michigan this beautiful since I moved here many years ago.  This year I was not able to go to Greece and enjoy the beautiful weather there.  But I think the Greek summer came here to visit me.  The weather was warm, it reached to 104 degrees (F)on some days, and the sky was clear and blue.  The only thing that I was missing in my back yard was the Mediterranean  Sea. 
This year my husband decided to plant a garden in our back yard.  We had an abundance of zucchinis, squashes, banana peppers, grape tomatoes and tomatoes.  He also planted some jalapeno peppers, which I don’t eat.  I find them too hot for me.  I was going to try to make a jalapeno dip with Greek yogurt, but it didn’t happen (stay tuned for that recipe; I’m sure I’m going to try to make it one of these days).  As you can see from the pictures the zucchinis grew quite large which I ended up making zucchini moussaka with them (that recipe on one of my next posts).  And as for the banana peppers I washed them, pricked them with a fork and barbequed them.  Then drizzled some olive oil and red wine vinegar on them and ate them as a side dish.  This type of dish is very common in Greece in the summer.  My mother used to fry them all the time.  This type of food was a staple on our table every Saturday during the summer months. 

For fruits we ended up eating plenty of strawberries and blueberries with which I made a mixed berry sauce that I used on top of ice cream or some plain Greek yogurt (I prefer the Fage yogurt).  The berry sauce stays well in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.  But it didn’t last that long in my household. 
Here is a first tease with the mixed berry sauce recipe to entice your appetite.  Stay tuned for more recipes.    
Our garden crop
 
 
Some funny shaped strawberries that I bought.