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Black Rice Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

Renée Robinson

Feta, Nigella Seeds, Pomegranate Juice and Arils Combine for a Unique and Delicious Take on Stuffed Tomatoes.

I’ve been singing the praises of black rice for awhile now. I love its chewy texture and flavor. Plus, the deep purple color is so beautiful when it’s cooked. I find it irresistible in salads and mixed with other vegetables. There are different kinds of black rice and the one I prefer is Venere black rice .* I like how its grains remain separate and never get gummy.  

Seeing as how tomatoes are at their peak right now, I decided to showcase them by stuffing them with black rice and baking them up in an unusual sauce. Because the rice is sturdy in texture I didn’t feel the need to add any meat. Instead I cooked the rice with shallots, garlic, Mina spicy harissa ,* chicken stock, tomato vinegar ,* and fresh oregano. 

After it had cooled down, I tasted it, and while it was good, I then folded in crumbled feta and nigella seeds .* Oh, yeah, now this filling had become great. Okay, on to the sauce.

Because the filling had plenty of deep flavors, I wanted elements of sweet and tart in the sauce. I began by melting 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup fresh lime juice and letting it start to caramelize before adding 2 cups pomegranate juice, the reserved pulp and juice from the insides of the tomatoes, Aleppo pepper ,* black pepper, and salt. After letting this cook down for about 15 minutes, I tasted it and it was just what I had in mind – nice and bright, but with some sweetness and kick from the Aleppo pepper * and black pepper. I hoped it would perfectly compliment the tomatoes and their savory filling. 

You’re always instructed to never over fill stuffed tomatoes because the filling will expand when it bakes. Well, I’d already cooked the rice, so I didn’t heed this warning. I heaped all the filling in the tomatoes and placed them into the pan of sauce. I made sure I didn’t pack the filling too tightly because I knew it would expand a little and I didn’t want the tomatoes to split open as they baked. 

I drizzled them with a few glugs of olive oil, making sure I also got some down into the sauce. Then I placed the tops of the tomatoes onto the filling, gave them another shot of olive oil and set them to bake for about a half hour before turning on the broiler and letting them cook for an additional few minutes until the tops were lightly browned. A little fresh lime zest was really nice sprinkled on top, along with pomegranate arils and a few fresh oregano leaves.

Well, what a punch of flavor these tomatoes packed. That sauce was so delicious spooned over them. This is a meatless meal that fully satisfied us on all levels. And as usual, I’d highly recommend some good bread in order to sop up all that beautiful sauce. A simple green salad was the only thing needed in order for this meal to be complete. And yes, the leftovers were excellent, too. These were easily heated up in the microwave, but they were also good cold. Can’t really ask for more than that.a

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, may pay me a small commission and help support the costs of this website. Read full privacy policy here.

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Black Rice Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

Recipe by Renée Robinson
Servings

4-6

servings

Tomatoes are stuffed with black rice, feta, nigella seeds, garlic, and harissa. They are then cooked in a sauce made with sugar, lime juice, pomegranate juice, and the reserved tomato pulp. Talk about bursting with flavor!

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Ingredients

  • 6-7 6-7 tomatoes, 175g - 190g each (about 6 - 7 ozs. each)

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Morton kosher salt

  • 1 large 1 shallot, finely diced (1/3 cup)

  • 2 or 3 2 or 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or grated

  • 205 g 205 (1 cup) Venere black rice *

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons 2 1/2 harissa - I used Mina Spicy *

  • 2 3/4 cups 2 3/4 low sodium chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon 1 tomato vinegar *

  • 1 tablespoon 1 chopped fresh oregano, plus a few small sprigs for garnishing

  • 2 teaspoons 2 nigella seeds *

  • 170 g 170 (6 ozs.) feta cheese, broken into large crumbles

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 fresh squeezed lime juice

  • 25 g 25 (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

  • 2 cups 2 pomegranate juice

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Aleppo pepper *

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 pomegranate arils

  • 2 teaspoons 2 finely grated fresh lime zest

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375° with a rack in the center of the oven. Slice about a half inch off the top (stem side) of each tomato, reserving the tops. Using a small spoon, remove the seeds and pulp from the insides of the tomatoes, but leaving the shell intact. Reserve the pulp and seeds. Place the tomatoes upside down on a plate and set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in the shallots and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook for about 3 - 4 minutes, stirring until they’re softened, but not brown. Add the garlic to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the black rice and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the harissa and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock and tomato vinegar into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for 25 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary, stirring vigorously periodically. Stir in the oregano and remove from the heat. Set aside while preparing the sauce. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid as it sits and the mixture will thicken.
  • In a wide bottom shallow pot (I used a 12 inch wide cast iron brasier) large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer, add the lime juice and sugar. Cook, stirring over medium heat until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to caramelize - about 4 or 5 minutes. Stir in the pomegranate juice, reserved tomato pulp and any juices that have accumulated from the resting tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer briskly for 15 minutes. Stir in a few grinds of black pepper and the Aleppo pepper. Taste for seasoning and let cool for a few minutes while you stuff the tomatoes.
  • Stir the nigella seeds and the crumbled feta into the rice. Lightly salt the inside of the tomatoes and fill them with all the rice, heaping the rice, but do not press the rice firmly into the tomatoes. You want it to have room to expand. Place the tomatoes into the pan of sauce, leaving room between each tomato. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the rice filled tomatoes, also adding a little to the sauce. Place the sliced tomato tops on top of the heaped rice-filled tomatoes and drizzle with another tablespoon or so of olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and watch closely until the tomato tops are nicely browned. Remove from the oven let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the pomegranate arils, lime zest, and oregano sprigs. Serve each tomato with some of the sauce and Enjoy!

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