Stuffed Tomatoes, but no stew!

Autumn is definitely here, although we had a few false starts over the last couple of weeks. The bronzed autumn leaves are scattered all over the grass and the winds are definitely picking up, a cold chill is certainly in the air. The deer in Richmond park have started rutting, which is always a sign that autumn has arrived. So it’s time for the winter coats to be dug out of the closet, dear readers, and the scarves to make an appearance.

With the new season brings a host of new and exciting produce to our tables. Root vegetables, greens, game, and fruits such as succulent figs. Its comfort food time, stews and casseroles and filling soups – I am getting excited thinking about the culinary possibilities in the months ahead.  So let us go forth and seek out the autumn offerings.  I hope to inspire and motivate you all into cooking some recipes you may have not tried before, that will warm your cockles and lift your spirits as the nights draw in.

This recipe is perfect for a light autumn supper or lunch and can be found in Clarissa Dickson Wright’s ‘Potty! Clarissa’s One Pot Cookbook’. It’s warming and hearty and if you omit the anchovy fillets then it is ideal also for all you vegetarians and vegans out there. It can be eaten on its own or with a piece of grilled fish on the side or in my case I ate it with some asparagus and melted butter!

Stuffed Tomatoes 

sourced from Clarissa Dickson Wright – ‘Potty! Clarissa’s One Pot Cookbook’

Serves 4

8 large tomatoes

125g couscous

1 tbsp olive oil

100g stale country loaf

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

bunch of spring onions, finely chopped

60g anchovy fillets in olive oil, mashed (optional)

30 g sultanas

handful of chopped parsley

1. Add boiling water to the couscous, as instructed on the packet. I normally use standard couscous, but for a change I used giant couscous and it worked a treat.  When it is ‘cooked’, if you are using normal sized couscous, add one tablespoon of olive oil to the couscous and stir it in with a fork to loosen it up.

2. Heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade (170 degrees centigrade for a fan oven), or gas mark 5. Slice the ‘lid’ off the tomatoes and scoop out the interior and then mix the pips and juice into the couscous. Sprinkle a little salt into each tomato set them upside down to drain.

3. Crumble the bread (I use a hand whisk) and mix it with the couscous along with the chopped spring onions, garlic, anchovies (if using), sultanas and parsley.

Season to taste and then stuff your tomatoes and remember to place the lid back onto your tomatoes.

4. Place in a lightly oiled oven proof dish in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

ps: for the really observant amongst you, I have intentionally only used 6 and not 8 (as the recipe states) tomatoes. I was feeding two adults and two children so thought 8 might be pushing it a little!