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The stuffed vegetables (gemista) are my best Greek food. Stuffed peppers and tomatoes are everyone's favorite! Especially the peppers… But be careful... only the homemade stuffing, and only the stuffing cooked the way grandma used to make it! But what are the 6 main secrets for perfect stuffed tomatoes and peppers?
But be careful... only the homemade stuffing, and only the stuffing cooked the way grandma used to make it! But what are the 5 main secrets to the perfect stuffed tomatoes and peppers?

1. Grandma's main secret is using the flesh of the pepper in the filling.

The fleshy white-green part under the cap, where the spores are on it, as well as the thin endings from the 3 or 4 internal nerves present in the male and female peppers respectively, have an incredible taste and aroma. Most throw them away with the seeds, thus depriving their stuffing of aromatic depth, giving the stuffing an unmistakable tomato flavor. The grandmother cleaned these of the seeds, rubbed them on a grater and used them in the filling, giving a taste balance between the 2 main ingredients and raising the taste of the filling vertically. A big difference, because here the passion for details that count speaks for itself!

2. The use of yellow sweet cheese in the filling.

I use grated kaseri which seems to me to be the most likely authentic choice of the old days in Izmir, but also gouda if you put it in you won't miss it. The cheese in the proportion and in the manner of incorporation recorded in the recipe, complements and rounds out the flavor profile of the filling.

3. Το δικό μου μικρό τεχνικό μυστικό είναι οι τρύπες με πιρούνι στη βάση κάθε πιπεριάς και ντομάτας πριν μπει η γέμιση.

This idea came to me from the need to keep the stuffed things juicy beyond the first day, because until today - especially the peppers - a spoonful of sauce was needed on top of serving. By opening these small holes at the base with two forks, we allow the filling to absorb liquids and always remain juicy. And I assure you that the last stuffed ones you see photographed, I ate them 7 days after cooking them and they were just as juicy as the first day, for the first time in the many years I have been making the recipe! For the grandchild to add a little tip to the grandmother's culinary wisdom...

4. Lots of parsley and mint and no other aromatics

The aromas of the combination of parsley and mint are just what this recipe needs. Nothing else! And for goodness sake, no dill I've seen in celebrity TV chef recipes... Dill has a completely different flavor profile and throws off the balance of flavors and aromas that make this recipe so magical.

5. Plenty of tomato sauce between the fillings.

This is what will provide liquid to be baked in the oven and become the rice, it will gather in it the flavor of all the ingredients and it will be the moisturizing element that will allow the stuffed to stay juicy in the following days.

I'm not recording as a secret the use of raisins and pine nuts, because it is widespread, especially among those of Asia Minor descent, and so I take it so naturally that I feel it is an ingredient in the primordial recipe for stuffed tomatoes and peppers.

In closing, let me note three more important details, from a taste point of view:

  • The first is that the dark green peppers they have much more intense flavor elements than the light greens that have appeared in recent years.
  • The second, that the recipe works best with medium sized peppers and tomatoes and not large, both in the portions, and in the taste balance between outer shell and filling in each bite.
  • The last thing is that with the culinary maturity that comes over the years, I am absolutely convinced that by adding to the pan in addition to the two basic ingredients, tomato and pepper, other vegetables for stuffing, such as aubergines, zucchini or onions, we are essentially blabbing and in the end we remove the flavor from the result.

Stick to the simple combination of tomato and pepper. Everything else may be good, but it is subordinate!

Source: caruso.gr