If you ask me what my favorite dishes are I will definitely include on my list Greek stuffed Vegetables, aka Gemista. And when I refer to this dish I always mean the ones that are stuffed on summer. Because for me there is no other season for gemista except for summer.
Because in the summer you will find in the market the most delicious tomatoes, the reddest peppers and the most fragrant zucchini. Why? Because these veggies are made for summer, and that is why they have the fullest taste and the best price.
WHAT VEGETABLES SHOULD I USE?
The answer to what vegetables to use is very, very simple. Use whatever vegetable is available. You can stuff peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants and even onions. Do not forget only in case your vegetables have usable flesh such as for example the zucchini, to add it to your filling.
May I eat GEmista during winter?
Gemista is – or at least should be – a dish that you cook and consume mainly in the summer. And that’s because summer is the season of tomatoes, peppers and all the other wonderful vegetables. But if you want to cook this wonderful dish in the winter then all you have to do is freeze the peppers. Cut the top of them, put one inside the other in order to save space in the freezer and they will be waiting for you to fill them at any time. Fill them as they are frozen and put them in the oven, it will smell like summer.
May I add minced meat?
The usual question: stuffed with minced meat or without minced meat? Personally, I vote gemista without minced meat, although in the past I ate them exclusively with minced meat. If you want of course and you can add minced meat. Sauté it with the onion first and then add the rest of the chopped vegetables.
WHAT RICE TO USE AND WHY?
You will find many recipes using glutinous rice but I personally prefer it for my stuffed with Carolina rice. Carolina rice gives the feeling of a risotto, a fact that I love. But if you want your gemista to have a little less risotto feeling then you may add glutinous rice.
Greek Stuffed Vegetables
- 4 red peppers
- 4 tomatoes
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 grated zucchini
- 1 carrot, grated
- 14-16 tbsp carolina rice
- 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- freshly ground pepper
- With a sharp knife cut the top from the peppers and tomatoes.
- Remove the seeds from the peppers while with a teaspoon remove the flesh from the tomatoes. Let the tomato flesh drain with a little salt and then mash it with a blender.
- In a large pan, fry the chopped onion in olive oil until it softens.
- Add the grated zucchini and the grated carrot to the pan. Add salt and pepper. Stir well and cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the rice to the pan with the vegetables and mix well. Saute for 3-4 minutes until it turns light golden.
- Add 2/3 of the tomato flesh and as much water as needed until the rice is covered.
- Cook for 5 minutes, add the chopped parsley and stir. Remove from the heat.
- With the help of a spoon, fill the peppers and tomatoes ¾ of the way because the rice will expand while cooking.
- In a small bowl, mix well the remaining tomato flesh with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Arrange the vegetables in the pan. Add any of the leftover filling in the pan too. Drizzle with the tomato mixture.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for one hour in a preheated oven at 180°C, fan.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the stuffed vegetables are cooked and golden.
So this was my recipe for the most discussed Greek dishes, Greek Stuffed Vegetables. With or without minced meat, or whatever the rice you choose, what I want you to remember is to make gemista at the right time. The summer. Let’s learn to listen to the seasons and go through them whatever they have to give us. They know.
I would be thrilled to hear from you. Even more, if you make my recipe and post a photo of it. Just don’t forget to share your photo under the hashtag #tetisflakes. Please do not hesitate to comment below or contact me on Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter!
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