I’m a massive fan of tomatoes. You may have noticed that they feature everywhere in my recipe posts. But here’s a confession: for a long, long time I couldn’t stand them. And then I realised the error of my ways. I’d only had fairly anaemic pretty bog standard watery mass-produced supermarket tomatoes.
The instant I tried my first local cherry tomato, even pretty tomatoes on the vine, I was hooked. I’d sell my first-born for an unlimited supply of excellent heirloom tomatoes.
For this recipe, you need a really chunky and substantive tomato. Something that’s definitely going to stand up to being mauled a bit. I’d recommend something like a beefsteak tomato.
Stuffed peppers move over, because I am here for all the stuffed tomatoes.
Cider & Barley Stuffed Tomatoes
- 6 large tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 250 g of pearl barley
- 500 mL of cider
- fresh spinach, a handful (roughly chopped)
- 1 slice of bread
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 180 C.
- Slice the tops of the tomatoes and carefully scoop the inside out with a spoon. (You might want to make some snips with a sharp knife to make the tomatoes easier to scoop.) Place the empty tomatoes in a baking dish and reserve the tomato insides for another day.
- In a saucepan, heat up the olive oil and saute the onions for about 3 minutes. Then add in the celery, carrot and garlic and cook for 5 minutes (or until softened).
- Add in the barley and fry for 2 minutes and then pour in just enough cider to cover the barley. Cook at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring and gradually adding in more cider every few minutes. Cook until the barley is just cooked with a tiny bit of bite still. Season it with salt and pepper. Then stir in your spinach. Set it all aside to cool.
- Toast the bread then crush it (either with a food processor or by hand). Roughly chop the pine nuts and add them in with your breadcrumbs.
- Spoon your barley mixture into your tomatoes and then top with a pile of your breadcrumbs.
- Bake your tomatoes for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and serve.
Would you take the time to stuff a tomato?