|Mom’s Famous Gemista
The other night I perfected my Mom’s Famous Gemista. As I had mentioned in a previous blog, I love the texture of ground meat and I love recipes that require you to use ground meat. Growing up Gemista was my all time favourite dish that my Mom made. One fateful day, as most amazing dishes are created, my Mom did not have enough peppers to fill the pan or use up all of the stuffing. However, my Mom is an ingenious woman and thought to stuff potatoes (which we always had in the cellar). This was the best idea ever. Stuffing potatoes is a labour of love but they are so delicious.
7 to 8 assorted peppers for stuffing
8 large white potatoes
2 large onions, diced
4 to 5 garlic cloves, diced
the hearts of the peppers, diced
2 lbs of ground beef
2 cups brown rice
1 tbsp mint
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups of tomato sauce
3 cups of boiling water
*Preheat oven at 450F
1. Cut the tops off the peppers, hollow out the pepper and reserve the hearts. Dust with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan.
2. Peel and hollow out the potatoes making a 1 1/2 inch crevice in the centre. Imagine sculpting the potato into a boat. Dust with salt and pepper and place in the pan with the peppers.
3. Meanwhile, saute the onion, garlic and pepper hearts for a couple of minutes in olive oil.
4. Add the seasoning and continue sauteing for another 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Add the ground beef. Combine it with the flavour base and brown. About 5 to 7 minutes on high heat.
6. Add the rice, 2 cups of tomato sauce and 1 cup of the boiling water. Stir together with the meat and simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low heat. This is to precook the rice before adding the stuffing to the vegetables.
7. Once the stuffing is ready, spoon into the peppers and potatoes. About 2 to 3 tbsp in each.
8. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil on top of the peppers and potatoes. This will make the vegetables and the stuffing moist.
9. With the remaining tomato sauce, spoon some over each pepper and potato.
10. Before placing the pan into the oven, pour the remaining boiled water at the base of the pan. This will allow for easier cooking and will create a yummy juice for dipping your bread into later.
11. Cover with tin foil and roast for 45 minutes.
12. At 45 minutes of roasting, uncover the pan and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
13. After roasting for 30 minutes, cover the pan again with the foil, reduce the temperature to 425F and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. The potatoes must cook through.
14, Serve with bread and feta.