This colourful dish of stuffed vegetables is the MAZI team’s favourite summer dish, and we have devised many different versions for our menu over the years, including our ‘inside-out’ risotto-style interpretation. But we also wanted the book to include the original recipe the way our mothers make it using minced beef. We advise you to reserve this dish for cooking during the summer when the vegetables are at their best, and if you make it a day in advance, it will taste even better. Add a slice of feta and it’s unbeatable!
3 aubergines 5 small green peppers 2 small red peppers or Romano peppers 2 beef tomatoes 2 potatoes, peeled and quartered for the filling 4–5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to taste 2 large onions, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 600g (1lb 5oz) minced beef 200ml (7fl oz) red wine 2 x 400g (14oz) cans good-quality chopped tomatoes 1 teaspoon tomato puré pinch of sugar 50g (1 3/4 oz) flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 5 tablespoons short-grain rice salt and pepper for the sauce 2 x 400g (14oz) cans good-quality chopped tomatoes 75ml (5 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper SERVES 6
Arrange the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes standing upright in a roasting tray so that they fit together. Add the potatoes to fill the gaps in between the other vegetables.
For the filling, heat the the oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat, add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the minced beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until well browned and it starts sticking to the base of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, then add the red wine and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar and finally the parsley. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 20–30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the rice and mix well.
While the filling is cooking, cut the top off each of the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes, reserving the lids, and scoop out the insides. Discard the core and seeds of the peppers, but reserve the aubergine flesh for another dish (sauté with garlic and parsley, add some tomato sauce and serve with pasta, or use in a risotto). Place the tomato flesh in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF), Gas Mark 6. Using a tablespoon, fill the vegetable cavities with the minced beef mixture. Return each vegetable to its original position in the roasting tray and then replace their lids.
For the sauce, add the canned chopped tomatoes to the fresh tomato flesh in the bowl along with the olive oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix well and then pour in between the stuffed vegetables, covering any gaps, but not on top of the vegetables.
Bake for 1½–2 hours until the vegetables are soft, turning them around every 20 minutes so that they cook evenly without burning on one side. Depending on the strength of your oven, they may be ready a little sooner – the key is to keep an eye on how the vegetables are doing and turn them regularly. Serve once the vegetables are done.
More delicious, modern Greek recipes in Mazi