Val from More Than Burnt Toast and Ivy from Kopiaste are co hosting an event to highlight World Food Day. As soon as I saw this I wanted to participate however I was torn about making something uniquely "Australian". Australia's cuisine is made up of dishes brought out here by the varying migrating cultures. So I decided to offer a dish that represents my Greek heritage. Greek stuffed peppers or "gemista". Before I go on to write about them I wanted to quote from Val's blog the objectives of this wonderful event.
The objectives of World Food Day are to heighten our awareness of the problem of hunger in the world and to bring to our attention what we can do about it personally. It is a day to encourage us and our governments to be well informed on the issues and to have a plan of action!!! World Food Day brings to our attention the plight of 862 million undernourished people around the world ...even in our own backyards!! Global warming and the biofuel boom are threatening to push the number of hungry even higher in the decades to come. By debate and finding solutions we can combat hunger around the world together!!!!We need a plan of attack!!! To find out more about what you can do in your area... visit their site here.
As soon as I saw these red peppers glistening at the market I knew they were mine! They were smaller than your regular variety and they almost look like tomatoes in the picture. As I explained earlier, I wanted to stuff these beauties and make the Greek dish of "gemista" or "yemista". This dish traditionally uses eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes as well as peppers. (I only used peppers). I've eaten stuffed peppers with meat but I prefer the vegetarian version made with rice. I've played around with the filling by adding what I had available in my fridge. These stuffed peppers are truly delicious. Yes I am biased. You may choose to serve them up as a main meal or as a side to another dish. You can eat them hot or at room temperature. In fact, they taste better the next day. I've enjoyed these during most seasons and they are quite versatile.
It's important to clean out the peppers really well. Once you have removed the seeds and the pith give them a quick rinse under a cold tap and let them dry. I based this recipe on six small peppers. Adjust your rice and stock amounts accordingly if you plan on making more.
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 2 zucchini diced
- 1 cup of arborio rice
- 3/4 cup of chicken stock
- 2 tbsps of tomato paste
- a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
- a handful of chopped dill
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fry off the onion, zucchini and carrot in some olive oil.
- Add the rice and coat thoroughly.
- Add the chicken stock and tomato paste.
- Add your chopped herbs.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Let it cook for 5-6 mins only on a rapid boil. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Be wary of "overcooking" your rice as the majority of the cooking will occur in the oven.
- Fill your peppers allowing room for the rice to expand.
- Place the tops back on the peppers and place them on a well oiled baking tray.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top.
- Bake in a pre heated 180 deg oven for approx 1 hour. The skins will be soft and the rice will have cooked through.
- Serve with juices and oil from the baking dish.