Serve these stuffed tomatoes with a simple rocket salad. Photo / Babiche Martens

Tomates Farcies (French Stuffed Tomatoes)

Apero chef Leslie Hottiaux shares a favourite recipe from her childhood in France

This is Apero chef Leslie Hottiaux’s mum’s favourite recipe. She would make it with tomatoes and herbs from the garden. You can also make this recipe using courgettes or eggplant instead of tomato. Simply cut them in half and scoop the flesh out. These will need to be cooked slightly longer.

Read more about this dish and Leslie's food memories from France

Serves 6

6 big ripe heirloom tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
150g chorizo
50g pancetta
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
800g pork mince (or use quality sausage instead, casings removed)
100g basmati rice
1 Tbsp chopped thyme
1 Tbsp chopped oregano
Rocket, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Start by washing the tomatoes and then cutting the top off each, reserving the top for later. It will become le chapeau, the hat. Remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Reserve the flesh for later. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and turn them upside down to allow the excess water to draw out.

3. Put the olive oil in a hot pan and add the chorizo, pancetta, onion and garlic (don’t colour the garlic too much or it will become bitter). Add the pork mince and brown nicely. Make sure you taste and season.

4. Add the tomato flesh and the rice to the pork mix. Simmer until the rice is cooked. If it becomes too “dry” add a bit of water.

5. Add chopped fresh herbs (anything from your garden will do) at the end and taste to make sure it’s seasoned properly.

6. Place the stuffing in each tomato, cover with the cut tomato slice (le chapeau - the hat) and add a drop of olive oil on top with salt and pepper.

7. Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with a rocket salad.

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