Sunday, August 28, 2016

Stuffed tomatoes

Made for August.

It may seem - it is - counter intuitive to turn on a hot oven on a hot day but for 40 minutes I grin and bear it. The result is worth it. If you are clever, make more than you need: These tomatoes are also very good cold, for a picnic or a cool supper, later in the week. Or a hungry neighbour, for that matter. Vegans, venture near: No animal was involved in this dinner.

This is fragrant, filling, quite addictive. 

4 large or 6-7 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
3/4 cup of basmati rice
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
5 allspice berries
8 black peppercorns
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp chopped mint
4 Tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp brown sugar

Cut the tomato tops off to have a  lid. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon - chop it and reserve in a bowl. Salt the insides of the tomatoes. Chop the onion finely and saute in half the olive oil over medium-high heat till golden. Add the rice and stir till glistening. Add the chopped flesh of the tomatoes, the juice from their bowl and 3/4 of a cup of water to the rice with another - generous - pinch of salt, peppercorns and allspice.

Cover and cook slowly until liquid is absorbed (I bring the liquid to a boil and then turn the heat off, and wait about 12 minutes). Add the chopped dill and mint and mix well with a fork. Taste for salt and add a little more if necessary. Stuff the tomatoes. Place in a baking dish and pour the remaining olive oil over so that some of it goes into the tomatoes. Now lock and load them (put on their lids). Distribute any leftover rice mixture between the tomatoes in the dish. Sprinkle the sugar about. Cook in a 400' oven till the tops begin to brown.

Very nice additions/variations:

Per my friend Mr Christie: 2 tablespoons of currants (tiny raisins) and 2 tablespoons of pine nuts*. Toast the pine nuts with the rice and add the currants with the liquid to the rice. 

*I avoid Chinese nuts as I have an inexplicable reaction to them, known as pine nut mouth.

Or, per me: dried barberries instead of currants, and urfa biber ( a dark Turkish chile pepper) instead of black pepper.


  1. Beautiful! I have to try this. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Thanks for the recipe. It makes my mouth water. I'm not a big fan of dill...I might substitute it with...I don't know...any suggestion ?

  3. Laurence, I never used to like dill until I ate it in quantity. It's so good with the acidity of the tomato and the sweetness of the allspice. I kind of crave it in this dish. I don't think there really is a substitute but any good herb is fine. Lots of parsley, more mint?

  4. Thanks Marie. You convinced me. I'll try with dill !

  5. This was delicious, and indeed, very addictive. I've had this two days in a row now...
    I substituted the allspice with Chinese 5-spice powder, simply because 'weird' spices are not found here in the south of the Netherlands, and I used raisins because I didn't have currants.
    Yum yum yum. Even my 15-month-old son is wolfing it down as I write! Thanks Marie!

  6. Yo - that's wonderful to hear. I've also made them twice very recently. Gosh - allspice qualifies as a weird spice and Chinese 5 spice powder is not!? Tell me where to ship and I'll mail you some...Sahadi's, round the corner, has lots, and the boxes are light.

  7. How kind to offer! We're going to Amsterdam this weekend, will find it there in a shop, I'm sure - out here in the Southern Styx we're not spoilt for choice, haha! Chinese 5-spice is about as weird as we get, plain old paprika is the norm...
    Anything else is just asking for trouble. Love reading your blog so by the way, keep writing!

  8. This tomato recipe sounds delicious and I'm planning to make it for 5 friends who are coming to lunch next MOnday.

    Would it be OK to make the stuffed tomatoes the day before and leave the last part, in the oven, until Monday just before lunch?

    Many thanks.

  9. Hi Nancy

    I don't see why not. The only issue I can foresee is the rice absorbing the tomatoes' juice, and perhaps becoming a little mushy, the next day. Also, because of the acid in the tomatoes, do not keep them overnight in cast iron, for instance. Ceramic, glass or stainless steel receptacle is fine (I don't do plastic!).

    This takes about 25 mins to prepare, before cooking.

  10. Thanks for the alert about possible mushiness etc. Thanks too for pointing out the quick prep time so considering all of this I will make the tomatoes the morning of the lunch.

  11. I made these tomatoes for lunch today and they were delicious. I used two onions instead of the one but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.

    Thanks for such a good and easy recipe.


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