“Gemista” – Stuffed Vegetables With Mince Meat
Gemista is a very authentic Greek dish and a national symbol. The Greeks have been stuffing foods for hundreds of years, it’s a time honoured tradition that still occurs today. You can omit the meat to make a vegetarian version for gemista. This dish can also be eaten cold and is great with tzatziki.
4 medium tomatoes
2 red capsicums
½ kg lean mince meat
10 vine leaves
2 zucchinis, grated
¾ cup spring onions finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup short-grain rice
1 cup of vegetable stock or water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Extra Virgin olive oil approx 3 tablespoons and some extra oil for drizzling over the stuffed vegetable.
Firstly cut the tops of the tomatoes, capsicums and eggplant. Scrape and deseed all the insides so that you are left with the shells to place the filling and the tops to form the lids. Discard the capsicum remains however keep the tomato and eggplant some of the eggplant discarding the seeds. Roughly chop the tomato and eggplant and place them in a bowl.
To the bowl of tomatoes and eggplant add the dill, parsley, and zucchini.
In a skillet or frying pan add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, spring onions and cook them until they soften. Add the mince meat and cook this until it is brown. Add the cinnamon and rice. Season with some salt and pepper. Stir through well and then remove the skillet or frying pan from the heat.
Set aside the mixture for around 10 minutes until it cools down and then add it to the bowl containing the tomatoes, dill, parsley, etc. Sprinkle some sea salt and cracked pepper to suit your taste and requirements then gently mix and combine all the ingredients together.
Wash the vine leaves in warm water to remove any excess salt.
Fill all the vegetables in the dish with the filling and place the tops back on to close them. Place some mixture in each of the vine leaves and roll these. Place them all in a baking dish. Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on the vegetables and some sea salt and cracked pepper. Cover the base of the baking pan with water, about ½ cm. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook on 180 C for approximately 1 hour until the vegetables and rice are soft and cooked.
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