Gemista “Stuffed” Greek Peppers
6 coloured bell pepper
1 large zucchini
2 medium or large tomatoes
2 small potatoes (used to fill the pan)
1 onion diced
3 clove garlic pressed/diced
1/2 lb ground beef (full fat or regular)
1 1/2 cup parboiled rice
Water as needed
Parsley as needed
Olive Oil as needed
Grandpa J’s All-Purpose Seasoning Salt as needed
Preheat the oven to 450 to get it hot.
Cut Peppers and hollow out, save the caps.
Cut Zucchini into three, cut and save the ends.
Use a spoon and start hollowing out very gently the zucchini, to create a tube. Do not hollow out to the bottom. Do not discard the hollowed-out chunks of zucchini, chop those into pieces and set them aside.
Slice the top of the tomato off, using a spoon to remove juice, meat and seeds. Press the meat and seeds through a sieve into a bowl. Save the juice, save the meat chunks and then throw out the seeds.
(This tomato step just ensures you don’t use tomato paste; you don’t have to do all this with the tomato)
Peel and cut in half width-wise the potatoes, so it’s cut in small tubes and not lengthwise.
Place the hollowed vegetable into a pan, place the potatoes last to help fill space in between and keep any veggies from falling over. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Grandpa J’s. You want to ensure the shells holding the stuffing get some love and attention.
- In a large frying pan, pour olive oil to cover the pan, add onions and garlic to sauté.
- When translucent add the ground beef and season with the Grandpa J’s. When the beef has almost cooked through, add the saved chopped pieces of zucchini and the small amount of leftover tomato meat. Allow this to finish cooking 3-4 minutes. Taste the meat. If its too salty don’t worry, you are adding more ingredients. If its not salty enough add some more seasoning.
- Add the parboiled rice and start stirring, allow the rice to start grasping the flavours, oil and juices from the pan and then pour in the tomato juice that we set aside (or use 1 tablespoon of paste diluted with some water)
- Keeping stirring the rice so it doesn’t stick, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water to the pan and keep stirring, allowing this to come together and start binding.
- When there is minimal water in the pan (just enough to barely cover the bottom of pan) remove from heat and start stuffing your vegetables.
- Stuff the vegetables and when the pan is empty, add 1/4 cup of water or more and swirl the pan to collect all the flavour and then proceed to pour over the pan of stuffed peppers. This water will keep vegetables from sticking and also help cook those few potatoes.
- Put the top caps on the vegetables, and then drizzle with more olive oil and Grandpa J’s Seasoning.
- Place in the oven on the Lower rack and drop temperature for 375 C.
After 20 minutes remove the pan and check the water in the bottom of the pan. (Add more if its needs some) Using a turkey baster, baste the vegetables with the juices in the pan. Put back in the oven and remove them again in 20 minutes. These stuffed peppers need time to cook. Its takes time to soften the peppers so the more you baste them and add more water if needed, it helps them cook and basting helps get more liquid into the peppers to cook the rice evenly. The goal is the rice to be cooked inside.
It may take an hour to an hour and half for the vegetables to get to a golden colour, with soft skin.
When finished. Remove from the oven. Plate and to serve them you can do the following:
Dollop with a full-fat Greek yogurt.
Use the juices from the pan and pour into a blender, add some olive oil and a squirt of lemon, to emulsify the juices and pour over to serve like a thin sauce.
Recipe by Jenny Siormanolakis – The General Jen