In the summer we often go for “light” meals. If you wait until the sun has set and the temperature has dropped a tad, then this dish is just fine bubbling from the oven. Tomatoes are baked with a filling of minced lamb and an assembly of summer veggies including zucchini, eggplant, fennel, and peppers. This surely is not a “light” meal but definitely one that will be satisfying.
This recipe is from Michel Roux who notes the leftovers are fine the next day. You will want to reheat the tomatoes so that collection of veggie flavors can again rise and merge.
Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Lamb and Summer Vegetables
Yield: serves 6
- 6 beef tomatoes (350-400g each)
- 1 small eggplant (about 200g)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 red pepper (about 150g), cored, deseeded and cut into strips
- 1 small zucchini (about 160g), peeled and cut into small pieces
- 170ml olive oil
- 1 large onion (about 150g), finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb (about 120g), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 150g long-grain rice
- 75g flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 30g mint leaves
- 200g lamb shoulder, minced on a medium setting
- 30g fresh white breadcrumbs (ideally one-day old)
- 240g Mastelo, mozzarella or goat’s cheese log, cut into 12 slices
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Slice off the top quarter of each tomato and set aside. Using a small knife and a spoon, scoop out the inside of each tomato; reserve the flesh but discard the seeds. Set the tomato ‘shells’ aside.
Peel the eggplant, cut into small pieces and toss with the Lemon juice. Place in a food processor with the red pepper, zucchini, and reserved tomato flesh. Blitz for 3-4 minutes to make a coulis.
Heat 120ml of the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat for 2 minutes, then add the fennel and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the garlic followed by the coulis. Bring to the boil, then stir in the rice. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Use the remaining olive oil to oil the base of a shallow roasting dish.
Finely chop the parsley and mint together. Add the minced lamb to the cold vegetable and rice mixture. Stir to combine, then mix in the chopped herbs and breadcrumbs. Season well with salt and pepper.
Season the tomato cavities and one-third fill with the stuffing mix. Place a slice of cheese on the stuffing, then fill the tomatoes almost to the brim with more stuffing. Top with another slice of cheese and press it lightly down into the stuffing. Replace the tomato ‘lids’.
Place the stuffed tomatoes in the prepared dish and pour about 100ml hot water around them. Bake for 30 minutes. Baste the tomatoes with the cooking juices, lower the oven setting to 400°F and return to the oven for a further 45 minutes.
Transfer the stuffed tomatoes to warmed plates and spoon over a little of the cooking juices to serve.
Source: Michel Roux Cheese [Quadrille Publishing, 2017]