Gemista or yemista (meaning ‘filled with’ in Greek) is a traditional recipe for Greek stuffed tomatoes and/or other vegetables that are baked until soft and nicely browned. As with most people’s favorite foods, this is also a comfort food for me, but unlike many comfort foods, this one is healthy. And is a very traditional Greek dish. I usually make them with tomatoes and red peppers, but you can use different vegetables such as potatoes or green peppers instead of tomatoes.
How to make Gemista:
- Wash the tomatoes and peppers and place them in a large baking pan.
- Cut the side of the green peppers, cutting around the seeds, removing those, as well as any veins.
- Cut a horizontal slice from the top or bottom of the tomato. Use a knife to cut the larger pieces of meat and finish by scooping out the tomato flesh with a teaspoon. Put it in a food processor and puree.
- Place them in a large baking dish and sprinkle the insides with salt.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and fry it for a few seconds. Add the rice (about 1 1/2 heaped tablespoons for each vegetable) and mix until wet. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
- Crush the stock with your fingers and add it to the rice, along with the mint, raisins, salt, pepper and oregano and mix.
- Add half of the pureed tomato and simmer for five minutes or until the juices are absorbed. Stir in the parsley and set aside to cool.
- Stuff the tomatoes and peppers with this mixture, but be careful not to overfill them as the rice will expand during cooking and break your veggies.
- Cut the potatoes in the middle and then into thin wedges and sprinkle with some salt, pepper and oregano and toss to coat them well. Add them between the vegetables.
- Cover the vegetables with their lids and add the remaining olive oil, the remaining tomato paste and the water.
- Preheat the oven to 180o C or 160o C, if it is fan-assisted, and bake for about 45 minutes.
- Turn the potatoes on the other side and baste the vegetables at least once to keep them moist on top. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.