These can be made in advance and served at room temperature or warmed up before serving if you prefer.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the meat in a large bowl with the onions, parsley, rice,
4 tablespoons of oil, paprika, mint, pepper and salt.
Slice the tops off the tomatoes and keep them on one side. Hollow out the insides of the
tomatoes with a teaspoon (a pointed one is easiest), holding them over a bowl to catch the juice. Chop up the pulp and add to the meat with half of the juice from the tomatoes. Keep the rest of the juice. Sit the tomatoes on a large baking pan.
Cut away a top hat from each pepper, leaving a hinge of about 3/4 inch on one side. Scoop out and discard the seeds, but save any of the fleshy pepper bits that you can. Chop up this flesh and add it to the meat. Put the peppers in the pan — it doesn’t matter if they don’t sit flat, they can lie down.
Cut away a hat from each zucchini and scrape out the flesh with a pointed teaspoon. Chop this up and add it to the meat. Put the zucchini in the baking pan. (Or, cut the zucchini in half and scrape out a hollow from each side with a potato peeler or pointed spoon, so that you have the two hollowed-out halves, now upright.)
Holding the meat bowl with one hand, ix thoroughly with your other hand, turning the meat filling from the bottom of the bowl up, so that it is all well combined. Fill the hollowed-out vegetables with the meat filling,. Using your hands or a tablespoon, until the mixture is flush with the tops. Don’t overstuff them; wait and see that they have all been filled and then you can go back and add a bit more here and there. Add the potatoes around the vegetables.
Pour the remaining ½ cup of oil into the remaining tomato juice and add the butter, lemon juice, and 1½ cups of water. Mix together and pour carefully over and around the vegetables. Put the tops back on the vegetables and sprinkle with salt, especially the potatoes.
Bake for 1¼ to 1 1/2 hours, until the vegetables are golden and darkened in places and seem soft even at the bottom. (If your vegetables dry out, add a little extra water, but this shouldn’t be necessary.) These should not b served really hot: Turn the oven off and leave them in there for at least 15 minutes before serving (they are best if you can manage to leave them in for a couple of hours). They are good at room temperature, or even the next day.
Serves: 6 - 8
Reprinted with permission from ©Tessa Kiros Falling Cloudberries, by Tessa Kiros, published by Andrews McMeel
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