12 large Roma tomatoes
1 medium red or white onion, finely minced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef or lamb
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
1/4 cup medium-sized bulgur (found in Middle Eastern markets)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon each dried basil, dried thyme, sea salt and chopped lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon each black pepper, red pepper flakes, and paprika or Aleppo pepper
Dash of cinnamon
3/4 cup crumbled Feta and Kasseri cheese, combined
Fresh chopped mint or dried mint for garnish
Marinara or tomato sauce
Juice of one lemon
Wash the tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out and reserve pulp and discard seeds. Chop reserved pulp and set aside.
Sauté the onions with the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the beef or lamb and brown the meat for a few minutes; drain.
Add the parsley, bulgur, tomato paste, spices, and tomato pulp, and heat through, stirring, for 5-10 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the Feta and Kasseri cheeses, to taste. Let mixture cool for 5-8 minutes.
Using a tablespoon, spoon some meat mixture into each tomato shell. Place stuffed shells on a cookie sheet or in a large greased casserole dish. Top each tomato with a tablespoon or two of marinara or tomato sauce and bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and sauce is bubbly. (Check occasionally and spoon more sauce over tomatoes as they are cooking, if desired.)
Remove from oven, top tomatoes with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and some mint, and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Place on a serving platter with a bowl of marinara sauce and small slices of garlic cheese toast. Serve hot or cold.
Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/
For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to: http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian