turkish-style stuffed tomatoes

On my mission to be frugal I had decided not to throw out some leftover rice, intending to make a Turkish or Greek rice stuffing for some kind of vegetable. I would decide on which vegetable to use when I actually got to the market and saw what was available. Of course all my frugal intentions went out the window when I saw (actually smelt first) a beautiful mound of the plumpest most scarlet tomatoes I have ever seen.

Still on the vine, you could smell their intense green clove-like aroma from about 30 feet away. I had to have them. At all costs. This turned out to be the debt of a small sovereign nation) All my frugal intentions went out the window. Well life is not too short to stuff a tomato!

So using leftovers, or starting from scratch with uncooked rice, this was a perfect summer dish, whether cold as mezze or to accompany a Sunday roast.

Serves 4:
Skill level: Easy

8 large ripe tomatoes
cooked rice
olive oil
1 x small onion, finely chopped
1 x garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of allspice
1 tbsp dried sour cherries, roughly chopped (or currants)
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
tomato puree
a pinch of caster sugar
a splash of sherry vinegar
vegetable stock or water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, finely chopped

  1. If you're using uncooked rice, you will need to cook it. I'm not going to go into details as I am sure you have a favourite method. All I would say is cook them in vegetable (or chicken) stock to inject some extra flavour. Set aside to cool or use leftover cooked rice.
  2. Slice a small lid off the top of each tomato, wide enough to get a teaspoon in. With a sharp knife or teaspoon, gouge out the tomato pulp and seeds, but making sure that the tomato is intact.
  3. Turn the tomatoes upside down on a wooden chopping board to drain.
  4. Save the pulp and any of the tomato juices. I sieve the pulp and press down on the seeds, keeping any of the juice. The seeds do release extra tomato flavour.
  5. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil until soft but not browned (about 10 minutes).
  6. Add the crushed garlic and stir. Cook for another minute or two.
  7. Add the rice, reserved tomato juice, spices, sour cherries (or currants), pine nuts and the rice. Stir well to ensure that everything is well coated with spice.
  8. Add a little tomato puree for extra tomato flavour, a splash of sherry vinegar and a pinch of sugar. If more liquid is required add a little vegetable stock or water (about a tablespoon or so), you probably won't need much.
  9. Ensure that all of the rice is coated in the cooked spices.
  10. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  11. Set aside to cool and add a tablespoon of chopped parsley.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas Mark 4.
  13. Pack each of the tomatoes with the rice stuffing and perch each of the tomato lids on top.
  14. Slop some water in a roasting tin or baking dish (about 1cm in depth). Place the tomatoes in the tin and drizzle over a shimmer of olive oil.
  15. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they are softened and are beginning to collapse.
  16. They are delicious served hot or cold.


o cozinheiro este algarve said...

More affinity. My obsession with left overs. I learnt it from my mother. Nothing was ever wasted in our household.By the way I loved the breadcrumb piece too.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Well I blame it on my mother, who was a war baby! But seriously, do you think we may have been separated at birth? :)

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

Oh no!!!- the terrible trans continental twins!!!!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Only our mothers can tell us apart!