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Yemista

Recipe by Kathy Tsaples

Seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, capsicums, eggplant and zucchini are stuffed with rice and herbs, then served as a main meal. This can be made as a vegetarian dish with a further ½ cup of rice, omitting the meat. Serve hot or at room temperature.

  • 500g minced meat (preferably beef)
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 red capsicums
  • 2 small round zucchinis
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup of feta, crumbled
  • 2 large onions, grated
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups of short grain rice
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup of mint, freshly chopped
  • ½ cup of parsley, freshly chopped
  • ½ cup of basil, freshly chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ allspice
  • 1 -2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  1. Slice off and put aside the tops of the tomatoes, capsicums and zucchini. Scoop out the pulp from the tomatoes and zucchini with a spoon and keep these for later. Seed the capsicums without piercing the skin. Sprinkle the interior of the vegetables’ “shells” with a little salt and set aside.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out most of the flesh to form two “shells”.
  3. Blanch the eggplant and the capsicums in boiling water for about 3 minutes and drain.
  4. Arrange all the vegetables in a baking dish. Finely chop all the flesh that has been scooped out from the tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant.
  5. Heat half the oil in a pan over high heat. Add your meat and cook until brown.
  6. Add the onion and the garlic and all the flesh from your vegetables. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add your rice, cinnamon, allspice and oregano together with the tomato paste. Take off the heat and add all your fresh herbs and feta.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the vegetable shells until they are ¾ full and replace the tops on tomatoes, capsicums and zucchinis.
  8. On a baking dish, arrange the stuffed vegetables and put potato wedges in between them.
  9. Sprinkle a little salt and then drizzle the remaining olive oil all over.
  10. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 ½ – 2 hours. Check halfway. If the tops brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminium foil. Pour in about 1 cup of water to the baking dish as well.

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