I like the idea of stuffed vegetables, it just seems a bit more interesting than chopping them up. I tried stuffed vegetables a few times before when I've been out and they always tasted nice, but I thought it just seemed like a lot of effort to actually make them myself. Well, it does take a bit of effort as I've just recently discovered.
I found a recipe for Greek stuffed vegetables in an old vegetarian cook book, which is ironically called the new vegetarian cookbook, and decided to have a go at making them. I was flicking through the book and realised I had most of the ingredients that the recipe called for, the ones that I didn't have I just simply omitted.
- 1 medium aubergine
- 1 large green pepper (I used a yellow one)
- 2 large tomatoes (I used 1 red pepper instead)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 45ml/3 tbsp olive oil
- 200g/7 oz/1 cup brown rice (cooked)
- 600 ml/1 pint/2&1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 75g/3 oz/3/4 cup pine nuts
- 50g/2 oz/ 1/3 cup currants ( I didn't have any & don't really like them anyway!)
- salt and ground black pepper
- 45ml/ 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (I didn't have any of this either!)
- 45ml/ 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 15 ml/ 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- extra olive oil to sprinkle
- natural Greek yogurt to serve (OK I really didn't have all the ingredients - I served with salad instead)
- fresh sprigs of dill (also, didn't have any!)
- Halve the aubergine, scoop out the flesh with a sharp knife and chop finely
- Salt the insides and leave to drain upside down for 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients
- Halve the pepper, seed and core
- Cut the tops from the tomatoes, scoop out the insides and chop roughly along with the tomato tops ( I used a red pepper to stuff as I didn't have 2 tomatoes but I did have some small cherry tomatoes and I chopped these up in place of the bigger tomato insides)
- Fry the onion, garlic and chopped aubergine in the oil for 10 minutes, then stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes
- Add the tomato flesh, stock, pine nuts, currants and seasoning
- Bring to the boil and cover for 15 minutes then stir in the fresh herbs
- Blanch the aubergine and pepper halves in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then drain them upside down
- Spoon the rice filling into all six vegetable 'containers' and place on a slightly greased oven proof shallow dish
- Heat the oven to 190C/375F/ Gas 5
- Drizzle over some olive oil and bake the vegetables for 25-30 minutes
- Serve hot, topped with spoonfuls of natural yogurt and dill sprigs. Or salad, or hummus maybe, or whatever you want!
They turned out really nice and I was very proud of them - I thought they looked quite fancy. I'm sure if I followed the recipe precisely they would have tasted even better. But for now I'm happy enough with them, next time I'll do them properly. If anybody has any ideas for other ways to stuff vegetables, I'd be interested to know!