These stuffed tomatoes are very flavorful, but honestly they look more attractive before they are baked, so here they are before baking.
I like them as a main dish, but you can also serve them along with any grilled lamb.
Tomatoes Stuffed with Lamb and Pinenuts
4 tomatoes (medium size)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon water (or more if needed)
1 to 2 teaspoons teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon fresh
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs (fresh is best for this recipe)
Salt to taste (can use dark soy sauce)
Freshly ground pepper
Optional topping: Additional tablespoon of one of the following (for topping the stuffing): fresh bread crumbs, crumbled Feta cheese, or freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes (save to use as lids for the stuffed tomatoes); set aside. Scoop out the seeds and jelly of the tomatoes with a melon baller tool, or a teaspoon. Squeeze as many seeds, and excess liquid from the extracted pulp and coarsely chop, set aside.
In a small saucepan heat the oil, then add the onion and cook until translucent, add the garlic and oregano, cook another minute.
Add the grond lamb and cook until lightly browned.
Add the pine nuts, reserved, chopped tomato flesh and breadcrumbs. Stir in the water, lemon juice, and soy sauce (or salt), and pepper. Cook another minute or 2 until the mixture is well combined. Taste for seasonings & adjust.
Place the tomatoes in shallow, oiled baking dish. Spoon the lamb mixture into each tomato, press filling into tomato firmly.
Place the lids on top of the tomatoes and push down on top of the mixture.
Cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through.
After the first snowfall I'm always surprised (and delighted!) to walk through the herb garden to see the condition of the heartier herbs.
It's such a treat for the senses to snip some fragrant, fresh herbs in the midst of cold weather. The new oregano leaves grow close to the soil in winter in my climate, but they are healthy and green and were perfect for this tomato dish yesterday.
Of course you can use any baking dish for the tomatoes. I'm particularly fond of these Spanish Cazuelas, and I use them for many baking and serving needs.
The smallest ones are perfect for preparing and serving Tapas and condiments. It's crucial to soak them in water briefly before cooking/baking with them.
If you cannot find cazuelas locally, there are a number of internet sources.
Amazon offers an excellent selection; click to see:
Cazuelas can be used stovetop, in the oven and the microwave. They are relatively inexpensive, too.