'Gemista' meaning stuffed in greek. One of the most traditional greek dishes and also one of my favourites. When I was younger I used to only eat the filling and put the vegetables to the side but now I will simply devour the whole thing, especially if they are made by my grandma. Writing this just made me realise I have actually never made them by myself before. When I was a kid I used to help my 'Yiayia' wrap the rice filling in vine leaves and then pop them in a big casserole where they would cook with loads of lemon juice. I couldn't find vine leaves so I just made the stuffed veg.
-red/yellow bell pepper
for the filling:
First things first, chop the top part of your courgette and bell pepper and then simply scoop out all flesh and the seeds so that you can place your filling later on.
Now on to the filling. In a pan with a little drizzle of olive oil, throw in the onion, carrots and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 1-2mins and then add the passata and tomato paste alongside some seasoning (salt/pepper and garlic powder). Stir everything together and then add the vegetable stock dissolved in some water. It is now time for the rice to be added in the mixture you've created. Cook everything for 7-8 mins and then throw in the chopped dill and parsley. You don't want the filling to overcook as the rest will happen when in the oven.
After a total of 10-12mins of cooking your filling, now comes the fun part of actually stuffing your vegetables. Take a spoon and add the rice and veg mixture in the courgettes and bell peppers, 3/4 of the way up as the rice will expand even more when cooking in the oven. To secure everything just put the lid back on. Place your vegetables in a tray and add around them the chopped potatoes (slightly sauteed beforehand if you want) and then the rest of the rice filling which will give more flavour to your final dish.
Lastly, add a cup of water in your tray and a drizzle of olive oil on your veg. Cover with foil and place in preheated oven for 60mins at 180°. After those 60mins, remove the foil and bake for 10-20 more minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables seem golden brown.
I have to admit that it's a recipe that will take some time and care but it will all seem worth it after you've tried it. With just a spoonful, I was transported back home, on my grandma's veranda, on a hot summer's afternoon.
(p.s you must serve with yogurt because it makes it 100% better)