Being of part Greek heritage I don't own any Greek-style cookbooks as I usually just ask my Yia Yia to show me how to make a particular dish. For this challenge though, my lovely friend Cindy (also of part Greek heritage) lent me her copy of the beautiful book Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros (also of part Greek heritage).
Tessa's book is a combination of Greek, Cypriot, Finnish and South African recipes and is proof that when you mix things up, you often get the best results - including in the gene pool!
The quantities listed for these stuffed vegetables serve 6-8, so I halved them as it was just for Mr Tea and me. Even then there was plenty enough as my Yia Yia would say.
450gm beef mince
450gm pork mince
2 large red onions, finely grated
1/2 cup chopped parsley
250gm uncooked short-grain rice
4tbsp olive oil, plus 125ml extra
1 heaped tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried mint, crumbled
1tsp ground pepper
6-8 ripe tomatoes
4 potatoes, cut in half length-ways and then halved again
3tbsp butter, melted
juice of half a lemon
Pre-heat oven to 200C degrees.
Put the meat in a large bowl and add the onions, parsley, rice, 4 tbsp oil, paprika, mint, salt and pepper.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and keep them to one side. Hollow out the insides with a teaspoon, holding them over a bowl to catch the juice. Chop the pulp and add it to the meat, as well as half the juice. Place the tomatoes in a large baking tray.
Cut the tops of each pepper, scoop out the seeds and put the peppers in the baking tray. Don't worry if they don't stand up, they can lay on their sides to cook.
Cut the top of each zucchini and scrape out the flesh with teaspoon. Chop it up and add it to the meat. Put the zucchinis in the baking tray.
Mix the meat thoroughly with your hand, making sure all the ingredients are combined. Fill the vegetables with the mix, until it is flush with their tops. If you overfill them, the rice won't cook. Put the 'lids' back on the vegetables and place the potatoes around the remaining spaces in the tray.
Pour the 125ml of extra oil into the bowl with the remaining tomato juice and add the butter and lemon juice as well as 375ml water. Stir well and pour carefully around the vegetables. Sprinkle the veggies with salt.
Bake for 1 1/4 hours until the veggies are golden and darkened and soft. Leave in the warm oven for at least 15 minutes before serving. They can also be eaten at room temperature or kept for the next day.