These amazing packed tomatoes aren't 100% healthy but you can make them so. Usually, the French recipe calls for chair or farce, which is ground up pork sausage with breadcrumbs, herbs, and seasoning. While pork isn't the best for your health, you can totally use turkey or even tempeh to make this recipe lean (or vegetarian). For now, I'll write about the traditional pork version with tips on how to incorporate ground turkey instead.
Since my accident almost 2 weeks ago, I've been hobbling around Paris. Without two hands free and also having an exhausted body, I haven't been able to visit any markets. Today, I was lucky enough to use just one crutch so I could cruise around my favorite market. My leg is healing nicely anyway, and it was nice to walk outside and not be bussed around.
Tomato season is still on and I had to pick up as many tomatoes as possible. I can't blame my pain medication when it comes to selecting my products this time. I totally have food ADD. I knew in my head-- okay, we need to make this stuffed tomato recipe... get beefsteak tomatoes! But I couldn't resist the heirlooms. So here's another edit to this already fabulous, traditional French recipe. It's better to use beefsteaks as they're tougher and bigger, but heirlooms pack a lot of flavor. These little ones do more than just fine and also help with portion control.
Like I said above, you can switch the sausage pork with ground turkey meat. Malheureusement, in France, I have yet to see any ground turkey meat. If you see any, let me know. Turkey here is very gamey tasting and not like the turkey back home. But who knows... maybe we'll import a Trader Joe's here? I know, I know... wishful thinking.
I've also only chosen to add the essentials to my stuffing. I don't care too much for bread crumbs, but if you like texture, go ahead and add them. However, you'll have to omit them for a healthier recipe. Fresh parsley, garlic, coarse salt, and pepper are some of the ingredients you can put in the stuffing. It's simple and it's super tasty.
While prepping the tomatoes, it's important to salt them and let the juice run out. After scooping out the insides, flip them upside down for 20-30 minutes. You'll also want to keep the tops of the tomatoes... it's more for appearance than necessity... keeping each of your tomato's "little hat". I don't like putting their "hats" on while cooking... it often keeps the meat a little too pink after baking. If you're using turkey, I don't think you'll have to worry about that.
I also like to bake my tomatoes a little before putting the stuffing in. This is entirely up to you as I really like the tomatoes to be very roasted. Others like to add onions around the farcies so that the broth that forms while cooking will be very good on rice.
Pre-baking or not, make sure to massage the stuffing mixture with your hands. You want all the ingredients to be well mixed by the time you stuff your tomatoes.
This is what they look like after a little prebaking. I've just stuffed them. And then after more baking, they'll look like this...
Obviously, you'll have to save the juice, onions or not. For turkey stuffing, you'll use less time to bake. So prebaking may be an advantage so you don't overcook your meat.
Mini Heirloom Tomates Farcies
- 4-5 medium to large heirloom tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic (and/or shallots), finely chopped
- 3 tbsps of fresh, finely chopped parsley
- coarse salt & pepper
- 2-3 tbsps of olive oil
1. Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the insides of the tomatoes, leaving behind empty "shells". Make sure the tops are seed-free too. Sprinkle with salt and flip them over to drain out their juices for 20-30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 205C / 400F.
3. In a mixing bowl, throw in your sausage or turkey meat. Add the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and thoroughly massage ingredients together.
4. After tomatoes have been salted, get rid of any excess juice. Rub some olive oil and a little more salt and pepper on them and flip them back over. Do the same with the interiors and tops.
Optional prebaking: put the tomatoes in the oven without the stuffing for 10-12 minutes. Afterward, you can take them out of the oven to stuff them, being careful not to burn yourself. I highly suggest this option for turkey stuffing.
5. Gently stuff the tomatoes and set in a deep baking dish. Keep the tomato tops separate in the dish. Drizzle a little more olive oil over everything and put your dish inside the oven. Lower the temperature to 190C / 375F. For pork filling, cook for at least 30-40 minutes (or 15 minutes if you've prebaked) or until meat is no longer pink. For turkey filling, cook for at least 15-20 minutes (7-10 minutes if prebaked), checking every so often until meat is thoroughly cooked.
6. Take out the tomatoes after baking and let rest 2-3 minutes. Carefully place the tomatoes on top of rice, put their little hats back on, and drizzle the remaining broth over them. Enjoy!
Well, I hoped you liked this recipe! Don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter for October's issue. Bon appetit and à bientôt!