Monday, July 28, 2008

A Taste Of Greece

Today's going to be a busy day at our house, so I decided it might be a good day to leave you with a recipe from our Homeschool files. Last Fall we studied Greece, and our grand finale included this incredible recipe I found within my Master Cook. It is a variation on the traditional Dolmas served as appetizers. We served them as a main course.

Basil- Perfumed Tomato Dolmas

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Cuisine: Greek

Categories: Florida Tomato Committee, Lamb, Main Dishes

Source: Florida Tomato Committee

4 large firm fresh Florida tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
8 ounces ground lamb
8 ounces ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked rice (regular cooking)
1 cup loosely-packed fresh basil, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Use tomatoes held at room temperature until fully ripe.

2. Cut a thin slice from top of each tomato; remove pulp leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell; set aside. Chop pulp (makes about 1-1/2 cups).

3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil; add onion; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add lamb; cook and stir for about 2 minutes, breaking up meat. Stir in rice, basil, cumin, salt, pepper, 1 cup water and reserved chopped tomato pulp. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Spoon rice mixture into reserved tomato shells. Place stuffed tomatoes in the skillet along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered, until tomatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

Note: We did cut back a bit on the salt, used fresh basil, and wanting to keep it as traditional as possible, used lamb.

Recipe says 4 servings. We chose the largest tomatoes we could find, which were still smaller than those called for in the recipe, so we added a couple more. These are fairly rich so I would say, depending on the size of the tomatoes you use, 4-6 servings.

Scooping the tomatoes is a bit of work but a fun family project. All 4 of us got in on the act, and had a great time with it! I would say, unless you've prepared something similar, including the tomato scooping, you might want to allow more prep time. This was not a quick throw together for us! However, the resulting taste sensation was well worth all the time and effort.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Hey Mom! Just added Tortilla Soup to my Netflix queue...and as a result added a resulting recommendation, Tortilla Heaven!

The Greek food sounds awesome - may have to make a stop at the store on the way home for dinner! Stir Fry can wait....

Happy Birthday to Nathan! Will try to get an email off to him today.