The good thing about this recipe is that it is forgiving enough to handle less than perfect tomatoes, and should you not have any tomatoes, bell peppers would certainly work, too. If you do use tomatoes, I advise that you salt their insides and place them upside down on a couple of sheets of kitchen paper. That way they lose a little of their water, and the dish won’t become too soupy. You’ll want to serve these over fluffy, steamed white rice or perhaps with some bread on the side. I think a lively red wine would pair very well with this dish. Perhaps a Vin de Pays d’Oc from the Languedoc Roussillon.
- 8 medium-sized (preferably ripe) tomatoes
- 1 tbsp mild olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 300-350g minced pork and beef mix
- 40g fresh breadcrumbs (I make my own from slightly stale bread)
- 2 tsps Herbes de Provence
- small handful chopped parsley
- 2 tbsps ketchup
- 2 tbsps pine nuts
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
Preheat your oven to 220°C and lightly grease a large casserole with a little bit of oil. Cut the tops of your tomatoes and hollow them out. Reserve the tops. Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with salt and place them upside down on kitchen paper. Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the shallots and the garlic for about three minutes. Put the minced meat in a large bowl together with the breadcrumbs, Herbes de Provence, parsley, ketchup, pine nuts, egg, cooked shallots and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine everything well, either using your hands or a potato masher like I do. Divide the mixture over the hollowed tomatoes, drizzle the dish with olive oil and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. After this time, put the tomato caps back on, and allow the dish to cook for a further 20 minutes. Serve the tomatoes over steamed white rice, making sure you drizzle each portion with some of the wonderful pan juices.