Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

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STUFFED TOMATOES AND PEPPERS
(Yemista)

The ultimate Mediterranean Diet recipe.  This aromatic combination of vegetables, grains, herbs and olive oil contains the essence of all that’s good about Greek food.  It’s fresh, seasonal and healthful.

6 large, firm, ripe tomatoes
6 large green bell peppers
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Krinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 large onions, peeled and minced
1 celery stalk, trimmed and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt, pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and peppers and set aside. Deseed the peppers. Remove pulp from tomatoes, chop and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions, celery and garlic for 8 minutes over medium-low heat, until the onions are wilted. Add the rice, stir to coat and combine, and add 1 1/4 cups of water. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed. Add wine and continue simmering until absorbed.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside of the tomatoes and peppers. Remove the rice 
and onions to a bowl. Mix in chopped tomato pulp, remaining olive oil, mint and parsley and combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. 

Oil a large oven-proof glass baking dish with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fill each tomato and pepper about three-quarters of the way up with the rice and herb filling. Place their tops back on and set in the baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally, until rice is tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings