The flagship recipe of Greek cuisine, “Yemista lahanika” combines seasonal vegetables and homemade fillings cooked in the oven. To make one for summer, you might as well follow it Meni Valleywhich has just published Ikaria. A culinary book, published by Hachette Cuisine, celebrating the best of Greek specialties.
The recipe for stuffed vegetables or Yemista lahanika from Meni Valle
-2 long green peppers
-2 courgettes, one whole, the other grated
-2 red onions, peeled, one whole, the other diced
-6 cl olive oil + a little for drizzling
-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
-220 g short grain rice (e.g. arborio rice)
-1 tbsp. tablespoon of tomato puree
-1 carrot, peeled and grated
-100 g finely sliced mushrooms
-½ bunch of finely chopped parsley
-½ bunch of finely chopped mint
-2 tbsp. finely chopped dill
-feta and bread, to accompany
Meni Valle. Every Greek household has its own variation of yemista. The stuffing is often minced meat, but Athina taught me a mushroom version. Enjoy them warm, with feta cheese and bread. They get even better the next day.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (th. 6). Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters and put them in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from turning black. Cut off the tops of the peppers, scrape out the seeds and white skin with a teaspoon, then place the peppers in a large ovenproof dish. Cut off the tops of tomatoes and whole zucchini with a sharp knife. Use a teaspoon to carefully scoop out the flesh of the tomatoes and zucchini, then place in a salad bowl. Crush the tomato flesh to make a sauce and dice the squash flesh. Order. Arrange the hollowed out tomatoes and zucchini in the dish with the peppers. Add the whole onion to the dish. Drain the potato wedges and push them into the empty spaces in the dish. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a frying pan. Saute the chopped onions until they are tender. Add garlic and sauté for 2 min. Add the rice and stir to coat each grain of oil well: this prevents the rice from clumping together. Add the tomato and zucchini flesh, the tomato puree, grated zucchini and carrot, the mushrooms and 50 cl of water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. (The ingredients will finish cooking in the oven.) Add the herbs in the last minute of cooking and stir well. Use a tablespoon to fill the peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini with the rice mixture: fill them only three-quarters full, as the rice will continue to swell during cooking. You have some filling left: add 12.5 cl of water, stir and spread the mixture over the potatoes in the dish. Drizzle the vegetables liberally with olive oil and salt them. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and continue cooking uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and golden. Keep an eye on them during cooking: if the vegetables dry out too much, add a little water to the dish. Serve warm with feta and fresh bread.