Monday, December 1, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Gemista

It's that time again...time for a Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!
I love getting an email once a month that sends me to explore a new foodie blog, or this month one that I have enjoyed before.
This month, I was assigned Francesca's delightful blog, Della Cucina Povera.  We've been here before, faithful readers.  In September, I volunteered to make a recipe from an orphan guessed it, Francesca's.  I made Cinnamon Rolls.  They were awesome.
You would think that I would try something that I had considered last time, and once again falafels made the short list, but then I saw these.
When I lived in France, I had a host mother who made stuffed tomatoes that were a mostly ground beef and garlic stuffing.  They were awesome.  I saw these and got nostalgic.  They had rice in them, and mint...but it might be the same as the tomatoes of my memory.  They weren't, of course.  But they were darn yummy.  J told me he was "pleasantly surprised".  I'm not sure what exactly he was expecting, but apparently what he got wasn't quite it.  No worries.  They were happily consumed by all.
I present to you now Della Cucina Povera's Gemista:

6 large tomatoes
Small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp oregano
1 lb lean ground beef
100 g rice
6 Tbsp crumbled feta
salt and pepper to taste
1 c good olive oil, divided
3 potatoes, diced

1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Dice the potatoes and toss with 2 Tbsp oil.  Pour into the bottom of a 9x13" pan.
2.  Slice the top off the tomatoes.  Scoop out the flesh, reserving for the filling.  Reserve the tomato "lids".  Set the hollowed out tomatoes on the potatoes in the baking dish.
3. Puree the tomato innards.  Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add beef, and as it browns add garlic and oregano.  Stir in the tomato puree and the rice.  Begin the process of cooking the rice, stirring frequently.
4.  When rice is partially cooked, half-fill the tomatoes.  Top with 1 Tbsp of feta, and then finish filling with the rice mixture.  Put the tomato lids on the tomatoes.  Drizzle with the remaining oil.
5.  Bake the tomatoes and potatoes at 375F for 45 minutes, or until the tops of the tomatoes are brown.
From Della Cucina Povera

Remember when I made stuffed onions?  I hollowed them out with an ice cream scoop.  I used the scoop again on the tomatoes.  It was perfect for doing them.  The sharp edge cut it easily, and made quick work of them tomatoes.
Here we are, in filling mode.  The cheese was an add on based on what was in my fridge.  It was just a little yummy salute to Greek food.  The rice was still crunchy when I put these in the oven.  the tomato helped it continue to cook in the oven.

And here they are, out of the oven.  They weren't pretty when I started serving - the first 2 collapsed, but they still tasted good.  J was happy with the leftovers for lunch.  Thanks Francesca!  Round 2 was as good as round 1!!


  1. please as punch x2. Thanks again, Sarah :)

  2. These look awesome! What a wonderful recipe! :D Nice choice for the SRC! :D

  3. Totally going to vegetarianize these - and will remember to have my ice cream scoop handy! Awesome SRC recipe

  4. Yum! I've done stuffed peppers but haven't tried it with tomatoes...looks super delicious!

  5. I love stuffed tomatoes and this version would definitely be a huge hit in our home. Great choice for SRC!!!

  6. What a great dish and an even better memory they bring back for you.

  7. What a unique looking recipe, I'd love to try it! Did the potatoes cook through okay in 45 minutes? Potatoes always seem to take forever when I bake them.

  8. I had never heard of gemista before. I love learning about new foods!