Stuffed Tomatoes with Turkey
This past weekend I was introduced to something that I had never encountered before…”Battlestar Galactica” After watching the first 3 hour miniseries pilot, I am now hooked like an addict eagerly awaiting the time when I can get my next quick fix. I ask myself why I had waited this long to check this show out and how I can consider myself any sort of respectable geek for this clear faux pas. Oh noes! I hang my head in shame…
In contrast to the failure that was the above, I have been fortunate enough in having experienced and made many times this nifty little dish here, stuffed tomatoes with turkey. It involves a bit of work, but the results I feel is visually stunning and delectable. What better way to assuage the wounded ego than with this? At this juncture, I needed a way to bolster my spirits and this…this was it!
This is actually my quick and easy take on a traditional Vietnamese dish, tomato farcies which I had shown you during our Tết celebrations and which I’ll write up a full post later on down the road. A lot of Vietnamese dishes are inspired by French cuisine due to its status as a longtime colony of the French empire. Traditional French stuffed tomatoes call for bread crumbs or sausage meat filling, but the Vietnamese version traditionally uses a pork/shrimp mixture much like that filling used for wontons or eggrolls.
To keep things simple and a bit leaner in my kitchen, instead of using the traditional pork meat stuffing that’s found in tomato farcies, I’ve substituted in ground turkey and cooked the filling mixture before stuffing it into the tomatoes. I also picked up a neat trick from another recipe to push the tomato pulp and seeds through a sieve to create a “tomato liquid” which I’ve used to simmer the turkey meat in…lending a stronger tomato flavor.
A fairly easy dish from start to finish, this is a great dinner to make for guests as each tomato is in and of itself its own dinner portion. We usually have it alone for a light and healthy meal, but it can easily be paired up with vegetables or a starch to make for a more substantial meal.
1lb ground turkey meat
4 large beefsteak tomatoes (you want them ripe but firm…too soft and they can burst and collapse in the oven)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
3 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small zucchini, chopped
3 tablespoons pesto
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut off tops of tomatoes and scoop out seeds and pulp, reserving. Lightly sprinkle cut side of tops and inside tomato cavity with salt and leave upside down on a paper towel covered plate to drain. Push reserved pulp and seeds through sieve and reserve all of the resulting liquid. Discard seeds and any pulp that didn’t make it through the sieve.
Heat oil in a pan over high heat and brown turkey thoroughly. Add onions, mushrooms, and zucchini and continue cooking till vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add stock/wine, pesto, and reserved tomato liquid. Stir well and simmer uncovered until liquid is reduced and mixture is quite thick. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff tomato shells with cooled meat mixture and place in shallow oven proof dish. Place tops on stuffed tomatoes and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on firmness and size of tomatoes. Outer tomato shell should be soft but not mushy.