Every year when summer rolls around and tomatoes are at their peak, I start to crave "Tomates Farcies", or "Stuffed Tomatoes". This is one of my favorite French recipes, that's served in the summertime when tomatoes are at their peak.
They make for a great leisurely Sunday lunch or dinner and serving them with rice is a must for soaking up all the delicious sauce!
Why You'll Love it:
- It's a hot dish, which might seem odd for the summertime, but you really need very ripe tomatoes in order to bring out its full flavor.
- Tomates farcies is a classic "home-cooked" meal, you won't see in restaurants in France, but rather a dish served at home.
- It's comforting and refreshing at the same time, and is an easy dish to prep ahead to feed a crowd.
Sometimes in France, you can find the tomatoes (or peppers!) already stuffed and for sale at the butcher or charcuterie wagon at the market, but that's about it. So it's definitely worth making yourself! Serve with a little white rice and you'll experience French comfort food at its best! Bon Appetit!
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Step#1: Prep The Tomatoes
Stuffed tomatoes look and taste their best when vine-ripened tomatoes are used. I choose to keep the green tops on the tomatoes because not only does it look more charming, but it also makes the tops easier to place on and off the tomatoes.
Slice the tops off the tomatoes and be sure you keep each top "married" to the tomato it was sliced off of. This helps all the tops fit perfectly on all the bases. Otherwise, it will be hard to match them up later!
Best Way to Hollow Out Tomatoes
Core each tomato with a melon baller. This is the easiest way to avoid cutting yourself or damaging the insides of the tomato. This is definitely the most tedious part of the process. But if you have kids at home or family visiting, this is a great group project!
Keep Track of the Tops!
This may seem like a small detail but if you want a pretty presentation, keep track of the tomato tops that match the tomato bottoms. Since each tomato differs in size and shape, there's only 1 matching top for each tomato.
If you mix them up, they'll all look a bit lopsided once they are baked. If the tomatoes are too wobbly and are having a hard time staying upright, you can slice a small sliver off the bottom of the wobbly tomato to stabilize it.
Step#2: Prepare the Tomato Stuffing
For this recipe, I like to use ground pork since it's most traditional. But you could also use a mix of beef and pork, or beef, pork, and veal. I have found that the fattier cuts of pork work better since they will create a more flavorful stuffing. Just ask your butcher for their recommendations for the fattiest ground pork they have in stock.
If you are a pork fan you must try my Pork Loin with Maple Glaze and Apples and Cranberries! This is a fantastic recipe for the holidays!
You'll season the pork with salt, pepper, herbs de Provence, garlic, and fresh parsley. This will add flavor to the stuffing, but it's the sandwich bread that adds all the lightness!
You'll cut off the crusts of the bread and then cut the bread into cubes and toss gently with milk. This is the same technique my Italian relatives employ for their meatballs and it does a world of good!
The bread and the milk make the stuffing in the tomatoes less dense, and more light and fluffy!
Keeping the Stuffing Light!
Stir the mixture together with your hands. This is the best way to keep the stuffing light while preventing it from compressing too much. If the stuffing gets too "compact" it will create a denser texture. So work the stuffing gently!
Step#4: Stuff the Tomatoes and Bake
Stuff each tomato by filling it with an ice cream scoop. This will assure that each stuffing is approximately the same size and will cook through at the same rate.
Creating a Delicious Sauce for the Tomatoes
Then the final step, which is the piece de resistance, in my opinion, is the white wine. Once the tomatoes are stuffed and secured in their baking dish, add the wine to the baking dish. The wine will combine with the tomato and meat juices that are released while baking, and create the most delicious sauce once the tomatoes are done.
Spoon the sauce over the tomatoes before serving and bring oven-to-table. I typically serve 2 tomatoes per person, since the vine-ripened tomatoes are a bit smaller than say a beefsteak tomato, but so much tastier too!
What to Serve with The Tomatoes?
My mother-in-law always serves her tomatoes farcies with white buttered rice, which I think is the perfect accompaniment with this dish since it gives you a vehicle for collecting all that delicious sauce! But a crusty French baguette works too!
More French Recipes You'll Enjoy!
- (18) Medium Tomatoes “on the vine”
- 2 tsp (10 ml) Herbs de Provence
- 2lbs (900g) pound ground pork
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp (15 ml) salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh parsley minced
- 1 cup (240 ml) diced sandwich bread mixed with 3 tbsp (45 ml) milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
- Clip vines gently from tomatoes, leaving the stems intact on each tomato at least 1 inch high.
- Slice tops off the tomatoes and set aside.
- Core tomatoes and remove their interior flesh, transfer to a bowl. (keep for a simple tomato sauce, recipe below)
- Place hollowed tomatoes in a shallow, oven safe casserole dish and set aside.
- Combine pork, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs de provence, parsley and bread that has been soaked in the milk. Combine with hands until incorporated.
- With an ice cream scooper, scoop meat into tomatoes and top with their “lids”.
- Add ¼ cup of wine to the bottom of the dish.
- Place in a 400F (200C) oven for 45 mins. Reduce oven to 350F (175C). Brush lids with olive oil, cover with foil and bake another 10-15 mins until tomatoes are softened and meat is cooked through.
- Serve with white rice. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 32mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g