A colourful, fresh and clever vegetarian Turkish recipe. Try to use a range of vegetables with this rice and pine nut stuffing as they’ll look so pretty together on a serving platter.
- 185 ml olive oil
- 4 medium onions, finely chopped
- 100 g pine nuts
- 500 g medium-grain rice, rinsed
- 400 g tin diced tomatoes
- 100 g currants
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
- ½ bunch dill, finely chopped
- ¼ bunch mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
- ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 small tomatoes, sliced
- 6 small eggplants
- 6 Lebanese zucchini
- 6 small red capsicums
- 6 medium tomatoes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, pine nuts and some salt and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion softens. Add the rice and continue to stir for a few minutes. Add the diced tomato, currants, chilli and extra salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Add enough boiling water to cover the rice, then stir in the herbs. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. The rice should be al dente. Leave to cool a little.
Cut the stems from the eggplants and hollow out the flesh using a small melon baller or teaspoon, leaving a shell about 5 mm thick. Slice through the zucchini one-third to halfway down from the stem (so the opening is not too narrow) and scoop out the flesh as for the eggplants. Slice the tops off the capsicums without cutting all the way through, so the tops stay attached like lids. Remove the seeds. Slice the tops off the tomatoes as for the capsicums and scoop out the flesh.
Fill the vegetables with the rice and arrange in the base of a wide saucepan or frying pan. Fit them in snugly so they stay upright. Decorate the tops of the eggplants and zucchini with slices of tomato. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil and enough warm water to come 2–3 cm up the sides of the vegetables. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium heat for around 20 minutes.