Γεμιστά / Yemistah / "Stuffed"
Greek style stuffed vegetables can be made many different ways. This recipe is based on lots of herbs and grains we had on hand and is completely vegan. You can totally add seasoned, ground meat if you'd like and adjust the herbs or other ingredients to your liking!
This is the beauty of Greek cuisine; a balance of tradition and what's available, be it in your kitchen at the moment or the season!
Preheat oven to 450
WHAT TO STUFF
You do not need all in the list, pick one or a few. Slice off top "hats" and scoop out cores (don't trash! you'll use them) and placed on a baking sheet.
Rub inside and out, including "hats" with olive oil and bake in oven to tenderize a bit - approx 15 min until softened, to "juice" a bit and also speed up the final bake later on.
TIP: For round produce, slice off a thin "hat" (1/4") off the top. For long produce, slice a thin "hat" lengthwise (ie. zucchini). For potato, you may slice and add around the baking dish, and/or stuff by slicing large potato in half and scooping out center (no "hat").
- bell pepper
To be honest, nothing was measured here. If you want more/less of something, adjust to your preference. See image for a rough idea on quantity ratio (10" dinner plate).
- parsley, chopped
- mint, chopped
- basil, chopped
- chives and chive flowers, minced and plucked
- dried oregano
- scallion, chopped (white and green)
- onion, minced
- garlic, minced
- almond, sliced (and/or pine nut)
- dried fruit (golden raisin, dark currant)
Have the above ready and set aside. In a mixing bowl, add the following:
- rice - 3 handfulls - haha, whatever that means... (1 cup?)
- bulgar wheat - 1 handful (1/3 cup?)
- grated cores -- tomato, potato, etc. (I chose to discard the green pepper cores so not to add any bitter flavor, but if you are working with sweeter bell peppers, go for it!)
- if you have, grated zucchini (regardless if you plan to stuff also or not)
- zest and juice of 1-2 lemons
- season with salt and pepper
- add a drizzle of olive oil
TIP: add the wettest ingredients to rice first so rice starts to absorb (ie. grated tomato, zucchini, potato).
Mix in the herbs, nuts, aromatics above. TASTE to see if you like the balance of salt, herbs, sweet fruit. Consider a little more salt if you think it needs when adding water in the next step.
Place mixture in sauce pan and add just enough water to reach just below the top (approx 3/4 water to the mixture). Place on stove top, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 min to start softening rice. Don't allow to mush. It will continue to cook in the oven.
Remove from heat and move on to stuffing!
Arrange your baking dish. We typically add sliced potatoes around the sides which also help keep the rounder produce standing.
Stuff to the top, but do not pack tight. Add tops to produce.
Add about 1" of water to bottom of pan and sprinkle all over with salt (preferabbly a coarse salt) and pepper. One more drizzle of olive oil, then pop in the oven uncovered.
BAKE APPROX 1 HOUR
Rice should be tender (some will be crispy if exposed). Potatoes should be easy to fork through. Vegetables should have a nice char!
This dish can be laborious if making a lot...but it keeps well, so worth making a full pan to enjoy the next day for lunch.