Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lamb & Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

I had some lamb leftover after last night's dinner but wasn't sure what to do with it and for some reason I didn't really fancy pasta (and that never usually happens). On the way back work wandering around the supermarket I came across some beefsteak tomatoes - now these aren't something I would usually buy as they're generally fairly tasteless but these looked red, ripe and juicy and just right for filling with some herby meat & rice.

Tomatoes stuffed with lamb, rice and herbs
Serves 2

2 beef tomatoes
small pinch sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g minced lamb
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
25g long grain rice
50ml chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1½ tsp chopped mint

Heat oven to 180C (I think that's about 160C for fan and Gas Mark 4).

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and put to one side. Scoop out the pulp from the tomatoes carefully with a teaspoon, making sure you don’t break the skin. Leave a shell of about ½ cm thick.

Finely chop the pulp (discarding any overly fibrous bits) and put in a bowl to one side along with any juices.

Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with a little sugar (this will take away the acidity), then place them on a baking tray.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, then gently cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 5 until both are soft and translucent (don’t let them colour - a small sprinkle of salt can help).

Add the lamb & cinnamon turn up the heat, then fry until the meat is browned. Add the tomato purée and tomato pulp with the juices, the rice and the stock. Season generously.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Take off the heat then cool for a few minutes before stirring in the herbs.

Stuff the tomatoes with the meat & lamb mixture then pop their lids on and drizzle over the remaining olive oil.

Put 3 tbsp water into the tray, then bake for 35 mins.
Serve hot or cold with salad and, if you like, crusty bread.

Edit: A nice variation would be a little cubed feta mixed in with the lamb / rice mixture, substituting the dill for some fresh oregano.
Also, I had one of these the next day at room temperature with some salad: resting a day definitely made them a lot more flavourful so I would recommend cooking ahead if at all possible (although they're still very good if you can't).

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