1. Food

Yemista tis Kalliroi: Kalliroi's Stuffed Vegetables

By Kaliroi Krasanaki

Yemista Greek Meatless Stuffed Vegetables - Greek food photos

Kalliroi's Meatless Stuffed Vegetables

Photo © Jim Stanfield

In Greek: γεμιστά, pronounced yeh-mee-STAH

My friend Kalliroi grew up in a large family where nothing went to waste, and her recipe for stuffed vegetables uses all the scooped out vegetable pulp in the stuffing - unlike other recipes that use just the tomato and zucchini. These are also excellent the second day.

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 5 medium zucchini + 1 small zucchini
  • 3 medium eggplant
  • 1 large potato
  • 5 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 3/4 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon of long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Preparation:

Wash all vegetables well, and peel the potato.

Trim & Scoop Out Vegetables:

Use a large bowl to hold the vegetable pulp.

  • Tomatoes: Cut a cap off the top of tomatoes. Using a teaspoon, scoop out tomato pulp and put in a bowl. Set tomatoes and caps aside.
  • Bell peppers: Cut a cap off the top of the peppers, scoop out seeds, and rinse well. Set peppers and caps aside.
  • Potato: cut a thick slice off the potato lengthwise. Scoop out interior of potato and put in the bowl with the other vegetables, leaving a 1/8 inch shell. Set potato and top aside.
  • Eggplants: cut off the top with stem. Using a spoon, scoop out eggplant pulp and add to bowl with other vegetables. Set eggplants and tops aside.
  • Zucchini: trim tops of the 5 large zucchini, and using a spoon handle, scoop out zucchini pulp and add to bowl. Set zucchini and tops aside. Cut the small zucchini into 8 slices and set aside.

Make the Stuffing

Using a vegetable grater (or the large grate on a cheese grater), grate all the pulp that was scooped out from the vegetables, as well as the tops of the zucchini and eggplant, and place in a large bowl.

Wash the rice, and add to the bowl. Add grated onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and all but 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well. The stuffing mix will be soupy.

Stuff the Vegetables

Using a teaspoon, fill the vegetables to within 1/2 inch of the top. The rice will expand when cooked so take care not to overfill. Place caps on top, using the zucchini slices for the eggplant and zucchini.

Cooking

Place the vegetables in a 14 x 11 inch (or equivalent) baking or roasting pan. The tomatoes should be placed upright, and the other vegetables should be placed on their sides. They should fit snugly in the pan.

There will be a little oil left in the bottom of the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water and pour the mixture into the pan with the vegetables. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons).

Place vegetables in a cold oven and heat to 480F (250C). When the liquid starts to boil (about 10-15 minutes), reduce heat to 355F (180C) and cook for one hour.

Allow the vegetables to sit for 20 minutes before serving. Stuffed vegetables are served warm or at room temperature and are excellent the second day.

Yield: serves 4-6

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