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Greek stuffed tomatoes and peppers

April 4, 2007

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Serves 6

Olive oil (for the dish)
3 medium tomatoes
1 each yellow, orange, and red bell peppers
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large potato, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Lightly oil the dish.

2. Slice off the tops of the tomatoes without cutting all the way through. The tops should be attached to the rest of the tomato by a hinge of skin. Carefully scrape out the insides of the tomatoes and set the pulp aside. Slice off the tops of the bell peppers without cutting all the way through. Like the tomatoes, the tops should be attached to the rest of the peppers by a hinge of skin. Core and seed the bell peppers. Set the hollowed vegetables aside.

3. In a blender, puree the reserved tomato pulp, tomato sauce, and sugar. Add the onion and blend until finely chopped.

4. In a bowl, combine the beef, parsley, 1/4 cup of oil, and rice. Mix gently but thoroughly.

5. Add 2/3 of the tomato sauce mixture, salt, and pepper. Mix well again.

6. Fill the tomatoes and peppers with the beef mixture, then replace the tomato and pepper "lids." Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the dish. Scatter the potato, if using, around the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining tomato sauce over the top, then the remaining olive oil, and the butter.

7. Bake the vegetables for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until they are tender and filling is cooked through. Serve with feta bread (see recipe). Adapted from Penelope Kotidis

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