This is a very classical dish that I would call Grandma’s dish. This is the recipe of my mother, which means that it may actually well be the recipe of famous French chef Paul Bocuse. My mom used to prepare the dish in summer when we had plenty of garden tomatoes, and it was absolutely delicious. We loved it.
For the success of these stuffed tomatoes, it is very important to choose quality, fatty beef meat. Choose beef from pasture-fed animals without chemicals, because pesticides accumulate in the fat, and you want to eat the fat. You can also check this article: 11 Health Benefits of Eating Beef.
The dish takes time to make but it is well worth it, and you can even cook a larger quantity of meat and freeze it for another occasion. You’ll need a meet grinder (I use the grinder of my Kenwood food processor).
Serves 8 – Prep. time 2.5 hours
8 large ripe tomatoes
0.9 lb. (400g) fatty beef meat
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
sea salt, black pepper
2 tbsp butter
Place the meat in a stockpot, add a sprig of thyme and 2 laurel leaves, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and cook the meat for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Tip: I always cook 1.8 lb. (800g) meat and freeze half of it for another occasion; next time I make stuffed tomato, I already have the meat ready.
Cut the “hat” of the tomatoes and set aside. Empty the tomatoes with a spoon, and pour the juice and the flesh in a saucepan. Add some salt inside the tomatoes and put them upside down on a kitchen board. They will release their water, which prevent the meat from getting too moist later on. Leave the tomatoes on the board for about 30 minutes.
When the meat is done, grind it with a meat grinder.
Mix together ground meat, onion, garlic, parsley, and egg. Season, to taste, with sea salt and black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Stuff the tomatoes with this mixture, making sure to squeeze the stuffing well in the tomatoes. Then, place them in an oven dish, and add a little piece of butter on each tomato.
Put the dish in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, then take the dish out and add the tomato “hats” you had set aside previously. Put the dish back in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce: add some salt, pepper and thyme to the juice and flesh of the tomatoes and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes. Blend with a hand blender. Keep warm.
Serve one tomato per person with some sauce and some rice (optional).
If you have more stuffing than tomatoes, you can use whatever vegetable that can be stuffed, for example a bell pepper (like on the picture below), or squash.