A few days into our month long stay at Bungalows Ingrid, she completely surprised us with her authentic Stuffed Tomatoes which Jorgos delivered to our bungalow door on a rustic platter! This was the first time we had the dish and we were so excited as we gathered around the patio table, where the four of us completely devoured the delicious meal…
Later, Ingrid kindly shared this recipe with me. She speaks very good English, but sometimes the words she uses to describe things with her beautiful German accent is a challenge for me, so I basically found myself sitting on a stool at the bar, scribbling the directions of how to make her amazing stuffed tomatoes and other things like skordalia and tzatziki. I have yet to create the dish with the same Greek flair she gives it. But, I doubt I will ever be able to recreate the whole atmosphere we experienced that day sitting among the orange trees. Their plantation also has about 90 olive trees and they have the olives pressed into bottles of olive oil that she uses in all her daily cooking. This is also a factor that I use as an excuse when explaining why I cannot possibly cook this dish like Ingrid! The most interesting fact I learned about this is that fresh MINT is used! I never have used much mint in my cooking, but believe me…The mint is a very important ingredient when making these.
Before she taught me the recipe, we made some stuffed tomatoes of our own in our bungalow kitchen. Growing up my mother always made “Stuffed Peppers with Spanish Rice”. It includes ground beef and Italian herbs while greek stuffed tomatoes is meatless and has light fresh minty flavors.
Here is another way to serve your stuffed tomatoes, whether you want the light vegetarian version for a meatless Monday at your house, or the meaty Italian version….
4 Bell Peppers
3 cups orzo or rice (cooked)
1 med onion (chopped)
2-4 cloves of fresh garlic (minced)
3/4 cup olive oil (some for cooking and some for drizzling over when you serve it)
3 Tbsp. Freshly chopped Parsley
3 Tbsp. Freshly chopped Mint
1 tsp. sugar
1 (14.5 oz.) can Tomato Sauce
2 cans of Stewed Tomatoes
1/4 cup water for the baking dish
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the tomatoes and bell peppers by cutting off the tops (set aside for use later) Remove inner flesh. Place the tomatoes and peppers in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the insides with sugar, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, combine orzo, garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and stir in fresh herbs and parmesan. S & P to taste. Fill the tomatoes and peppers with the mix. Put the tops on (you saved them)… Pour the water in the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until they begin to bubble and sizzle! Now turn on your broiler for just a minute just to brown the top (Watch it!) Remove from oven, place on serving platter and drizzle with olive oil.
*Meaty Variation: For meat lovers reduce the amount of rice or orzo by a cup and add 2 cups of cooked ground beef. Swap the mint for oregano!