Gemista – Greek Stuffed Peppers
12 large green peppers ( you can use other peppers)
2 lbs of ground beef ( you can mix half beef/half pork)
1 large onion diced
1 pint of mushrooms diced
3 garlic gloves diced
3 cups of tomato sauce
1 tsp of long grain rice for each pepper (my Mom puts 1 tbsp much makes the stuffing more ricey. If you are watching your diet, like I am you don’t need that much rice)
1 tbsp mint
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 450F
3. Shell out the heart of the pepper but do not discard.
4. Wash the seeds off the hearts of the peppers and dice the flesh. (My grandmother use to do this because when my Mom was growing up they were struggling. So that they don’t waste any precious food, my Giagia would add the heart of the peppers in the stuffing. They are full of nutrients.)
5. I made my own tomatoe sauce. Use 8 to 10 ripe tomatoes. Put them in a steam bath for 20 to 30 minutes so that the skin will peel off. Dice and mash the tomatoes after sprinkling in some salt and a pinch of sugar. (This will balance the acidity in the tomatoes and when it cooks in the filling it won’t be tangy.)
6. Now you are ready to make the stuffing.
7. Saute the diced pepper hearts, onions, garlic and mushrooms for 10 minutes of medium/high heat in the deep pan.
8. Add ground meat to brown. Stir in for 5 minutes and then add the spices: mint, oregano, cumin and cinnamon. Brown for 5 to 10 minutes.
9. Lower heat to medium. Add 1 tsp of rice for each pepper into the centre of the mixture, followed by the tomatoe sauce. Let it start to bubble a little.
10. Reduce heat to low/medium and simmer for 20 minutes. The rice should start cooking at this point before putting stuffing into the peppers.
11. Now you are ready to stuff the peppers.
12. Place hollowed peppers into a deep roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt. You need about 3 to 4 tbsp of stuffing for each pepper.
13. If you have remaing tomatoe sauce pour some in the middle and top the peppers with a lid. Pour canola oil over each pepper. 14. Pour 1 cup of bolied water into the base of the pan. Cover with tin foil and roast for 45 minutes.
15. At 45 minutes, uncover and roast for another 45 minutes.
16. I like my gemista a bit crispy on the top so I broil them for 15 minutes at 500F. It’s a personal preference.
17. Serve with a fresh Greek Salad, olive and pita.