02 August 2009

Tomates farcies

Stuffed tomatoes are a summer classic in France. They are something people make and eat during the tomato season, July through September.

How do you make them? Take good ripe tomatoes and cut a slice off the top of each (to make what's called un chapeau in French). Scoop the flesh and seeds out of each tomato with a spoon (and a knife if necessary). Be careful not to pierce the skin. Sprinkle a pinch of salt into each hollowed-out tomato and place all of them upside down on a plate to drain for 20 minutes. The salt draws out some of the tomatoes' juice and seasons them at the same time.

Raw tomatoes stuffed and ready for the oven.
The raw zucchini is stuffed with the same mixture.

Meanwhile, chop some cooked meat (leftover roast), or some cooked ground beef. Chopped cooked chicken or turkey would also be good. (You can also stuff the tomatoes with cooked rice instead of meat.) Mix in chopped onion and garlic, parsley or other herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir in a whole raw egg to bind the meat filling together.

Put about half a teaspoon of raw rice into the bottom of each hollowed-out tomato. Then fill the tomatoes with the meat mixture. The raw rice will absorb a lot of the liquid released as the tomatoes and stuffing cook. Put the lid back on each tomato, put them on an oiled pan or baking dish, and put them in a 300ºF oven for an hour or longer. That seems like a long time, but that's the way you cook them so that everything is thoroughly done but not burned.

Stuffed tomatoes (and a stuffed zucchini)
after an hour in a 300ºF/160ºC oven

Here's Monique Maine's recipe (my translation):
Stuffed tomatoes

12 nice tomatoes
10 oz. leftover cooked meat (or ground beef)
6 tsp. raw rice
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 egg
olive oil
salt & pepper

Cut a slice off the top of each tomato. Spoon out the seeds and flesh. Salt the inside of the tomatoes, turn them upside down on a plate, and let them sit for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the cooked meat (or cook the ground beef). Chop the onion, garlic, and parsley, and mix everything together with the meat. Salt and pepper the mixture. Add the egg and stir well.

Put half a teaspoon of raw rice into each hollowed-out tomato. Then fill them all with the meat mixture. Put the stuffed tomatoes into an oiled baking pan or dish, put the lids (the slices you cut off the top) back on, and drizzle olive oil over all. Cook them for an hour or more, uncovered, in a medium oven. Baste them during the baking.


  1. In the last paragraph of the recipe, did you mean to write half a teaspoon of RICE not salt in each tomato?

  2. And your onions must be really hot! :-)

  3. I concur with Anonymous.

    Word verification is Obamica. What could that be?

  4. Thanks, Anonymous, whoever you are. I did mean rice, not salt. Typos happen. It's nice to have so many editors. I changed the recipe translation.

  5. Thanks for including the recipe- it's in my file now and I'll give it try soon. I bet this recipe would be a good one to freeze and I'm sure you could stuff bell peppers also.

  6. Hi Evelyn, I just talked to MA and she said to tell you hello. She also said she owes you a thank-you note. Stuffed peppers are really good.

    Susan, yes, hot onions. My mother pointed out to me that I had written onion instead of oven, and paste instead of baste. She thought it was hilarious.

    I was in a hurry this morning.

  7. I wish you could send a taste via the blog :)) I bet it was great!

    My word verification is the BEST anyone has EVER gotten!!: calie! (Sure, it's missing the extra l, but...)


  8. My mother used to use a similar stuffing mixture for stuffed cabbage (roll up the cabbage leaves around the stuffing and fasten with a toothpick) or stuffed green peppers.

    She also used to bake apples, something I've never done.

  9. Hi Ginny, with apples you have to choose the right variety for baking, and I'm not sure what that is. I've made stuffed cabbage leaves and even stuffed collard and chard leaves. They are all good.

  10. Ken, tell MA not to bother with thank you note for crochet pattern. I wasn't expecting one and got one here.

    I like the fact that you put raw rice in tomato farci recipe.

  11. The rice is a really good idea, and I will be trying that as soon as I get some big tomatoes ripe.

    Re apples for baking, I suppose you mean Bramleys and their ilk. I'm not particularly fond of these 19thC 'cooking' apples and I just use any largish apple.

  12. Susan, my mother was skeptical about the raw rice in the bottom of the stuffed tomatoes. She thought it wouldn't get cooked. I assured her that it did when I cooked the tomatoes. They were in the oven (or is that "onion"?) for an hour or more.

    I've never heard of Bramley apples. Some apples collapse when you cook them. That's not the type you want for baking. I think Granny Smiths are good for baking.

  13. Bramleys are enormous and collapse to a pulp when cooked. They are what most people in the UK would use to do baked apples. Granny Smiths are the main 'cooking' apple in Australia, and I would certainly use them for baked apples. Bramleys are sharper in flavour than Granny Smiths. We have a Granny Smith in our orchard, so if the crop is good I'll get some over to you for you to try them out.


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