Our garden is providing loads of tomatoes and green peppers but they are on the small size. When we go to the garden shop to buy tomato plants our choice of varieties are cherry tomatoes, tomatoes and the long pomodoro tomatoes. None of those beefsteak, heirloom or gardener's delight. We take what we find, which isn't much. I only remember buying two cherry tomato plants and half a dozen of the 'ordinary' variety. One cherry tomato immediately produced 6 cherry tomatoes and then gave up the ghost. The other withered away so I suppose these are just small 'ordinary' tomatoes.
We're thrilled with whatever our garden provides, including the snails, but these are not big enough for stuffing. So we buy big beefy tomatoes from a local grower.
As for the peppers, I am sure I remember saying I wanted the round capsicum peppers. We were given a mixed lot instead because we seem to have a lot of small long thin green peppers and only two plants with the classic capsicum. The long ones are too small for stuffing with feta and don't go well in a salad. Now and again I fry a handful.
One of the most popular summer dishes in Greece is stuffed tomatoes and green peppers, the latter called capsicum in Australia and bell pepper in American. Other popular vegetables to stuff are aubergines and zucchinis and the stuffing can be rice, onions and herbs or with a little minced meat as well. I prefer a little meat but this batch is meatless
The hollowed out tomatoes and topless green peppers ready for stuffing. The tomatoes are easily emptied by cutting a small slice off the top and digging out the flesh with a teaspoon. It doesn't matter if the tomato skin is torn a little or a hole made in the bottom by too enthusiastic 'digging'. The stuffing sits in there just the same.
I put the flesh from half of the tomatoes, the onion and herbs into this little mixer and make them into a pulp. The stuffing mix does not need to be precooked.
Here are the vegetables, each filled with the stuffing mixed, ready to be closed.
Closed up, surrounded by potatoes cut into small pieces which hold them all in one place so they don't move around or fall over while cooking. My mother-in-law always sprinkled breadcrumbs over them all before putting them in the oven so of course I do that as well (for her son). They have been drizzled with olive oil and salt. The dish does not need any extra water because usually quite a lot of juice comes from the tomatoes.
And behold, this is what they look like after an hour in a hot oven. A little blackness on top just gives them extra flavour.
half a dozen tomatoes
three or four green peppers
(or how ever many you think your family will eat)
one onion, chopped or put into the mixer
one clove of garlic
a small bunch of parsely
one dessert spoon of short grain rice for every vegetable
salt and pepper
If you're using zuchinis and aubergines, cut off a small lid and hollow them out the same way with a teaspoon. Use the flesh in the stuffing. Put it in the mixer with the tomato and onion.
a little sugar
also nice is a small handful of raisins and pine nuts
Hollow out the tomatoes and cut a lid off the top of the peppers, removing the seeds.
Put half the tomato flesh into the mixer with the onion, garlic, roughly chopped parsely, mint and basil. Mix to a pulp.
In another bowl put the rest of the contents of the tomatoes and roughly mash up any lumps with your fingers. Add the rest from the mixer. Add a small glass of olive oil, the rice, salt and pepper. That is your stuffing ready.
Put a small sprinkle of sugar in the bottom of each tomato. This counteracts the acidity of the tomato. Now fill up each shell and cover with its lid.
Peel and cut up the potatoes into small chunks and wedge them in between the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over them all, sprinkle a little more salt and scatter some breadcrumbs over the top.
Cook in a hot oven from one to one and a half hours. The potatoes should be soft and the tops of the tomatoes lightly blackened.
If you want to use a little minced meat to make it a heartier meal for your man, then brown the mince a little and add it to the raw tomato and rice mix before stuffing. I would use a handful of mince for this amount of vegetables.
Any stuffing mix left over you can just add to the dish around the veges and potatoes and maybe a little water. It will cook perfectly well there and you'll have a little more to put on the plate.
Serve with feta cheese, sourdough bread and a nicely cooled rough white wine.
Have a nice meal