Use this filling and cooking technique to stuff any vegetables such as baby eggplant, squash or mushrooms.
Let’s face it: everyone likes stuffed foods. There is something inviting and intriguing about the neat little package that is a stuffed vegetable. We may not even know what is inside, but we know there is something exciting waiting for us therein. Like a hidden surprise or an ornately decorated gift waiting to be unwrapped, much effort has gone into creating something special which begs our attention more than any unstuffed vegetable could.
My husband’s family has been making the same “hulupches” (aka stuffed cabbage) for five generations. When the large cabbages appear in the fall, we know Sukkot and Simchat Torah are almost here, and we hope for nice sized cabbages whose leaves are the easiest to fill. While stuffed cabbage is the iconic Ashkenaz culinary dish for this time of year, the tradition for serving stuffed foods transcends many dishes and countries. In the Sephardic tradition, “mehshi” (stuffed foods) are ubiquitous all year round (Syrian Jewish cuisine from Aleppo has been called “Queen of the Mehshi”), stuffing everything from eggplant to onions to grape leaves. Although stuffed foods may seem exotic, they are also very practical; expensive meat can be stretched quite far when incorporated as a filling, especially when serving a crowd.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 15-18 small Campari tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- ¼ -⅓ cup dried currants (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1. Cut off and set aside the tops of tomatoes. Scoop out the insides of the tomatoes - be careful to leave shells intact for stuffing (a melon baller does a good job of this).
2. Coarsely chop tomato “guts”, add to colander, and set aside to allow tomatoes to drain excess liquid.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 4-5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, salt, pepper and turmeric. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Add quinoa and stir to blend, toasting the quinoa for about 1-2 minutes. Add chopped and drained tomatoes and currants; mix to incorporate. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa’s outside germ ring is visible.
6. Remove from heat. Gently stir in chopped herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
7. Spoon mixture into reserved tomato shells. Place each stuffed tomato in a large casserole dish. Cover each tomato with a reserved tomato top.
8. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes – do not overcook or tomatoes will split open.
9. Remove from oven. Garnish with additional fresh chopped herbs.
DAIRY VARIATION: For an elegant finish, sprinkle the stuffed tomatoes with parmesan cheese (about ½ cup total). No need to use tomato tops. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown and crisp cheese.
PETTI PEN SQUASH & MINI EGGPLANT:
This recipe works wonderfully in mini squash & mini eggplant as well. Slice eggplant and/or squash in half and roast in 375°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and follow above recipe from step 4.