From here on out, I will refer to this dish as “yummy-sta”.
This was actually my first attempt at making this traditional Greek dish sans my mother’s aid. (When I say aid I really mean my mom doing everything and me observing.) Usually, when my mom makes this dish, she bakes a huge pan of vegetables: zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes and bell peppers; and the leftovers last forever. I thought I better start small and made us a modest batch. I primarily wanted to use up this massive Sicilian Eggplant we got in the share a few weeks ago, so I cut that in half and dug out the insides to use in the filling. I’m not sure if it was the size of the eggplant or the type, but it’s skin was really tough and chewy, I’m wondering if I should have baked the eggplant shells a little before stuffing them maybe?
Overall the dish tasted amazing, but of course not even close to the yumminess of my mom’s. It really needed more olive oil! Yummy-sta, like fasolakia, are considered “lathera” foods (the Greek word for oil is “lathi”); therefore meaning cooked in olive oil. You can never have too much olive oil in your pan, NEVER. The best part is mopping up the flavorful yummy-sta oil and scraps at the bottom of the pan with crusty bread!
Yummy-sta (a small batch)
*The measurements and directions are all approximate. My mom kept saying “look with your eyes, you will know if it is enough”. Shrug.
- 1 large eggplant or 2 medium ones (cut top off and dig out insides, set aside)
- 2-3 bell peppers (cut off tops and clean out insides)
- 2 tomatoes (cut off tops and dig out insides, set aside)
- 1-2 zucchini (If big enough, cut off tops and dig out insides and set aside)
- 1 med onion (quartered)
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 a pound of ground beef
- About a cup of rice
- 2 good sized baking potatoes (quartered)
- fresh mint leaves (chopped)
- about 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- OLIVE OIL – I dunno, a gallon maybe??!!
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350º. Clean and prepare vegetables. Puree the eggplant, zucchini and tomato innards in a food processor with your onion, garlic and mint leaves. Salt and pepper to taste. Combine the puree in a bowl with rice and ground meat and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. The mixture should be chunky and there should be enough rice to soak up a lot of the liquid, “you will know”.
Oil a roasting pan (really oil it) and within it set up the hollow vegetables. With a spoon carefully fill each vegetable with the mixture right below their tops (the rice will expand while cooking). Place the quartered potatoes into the now empty mixture bowl, toss them with some olive oil and a lil bit of tomato sauce (S&P too) and then stuff the potatoes into the crevices between the stuffed vegetables in the pan. Back to the bowl take about a 1/2 cup tomato sauce and a 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk together with some salt and pepper, pour this over the vegetables.
Cover with foil and back for about an hour, then uncover and allow to brown. Enjoy!