This recipe is inspired by Turkish dolmas, which are baked vegetables stuffed with ground meat, rice and spices. In this case I have omitted the meat and substituted feta cheese and, of course, substituted couscous for the rice. Dolmas are best eaten warm (not hot) or at room temperature, allowing time for the flavors to settle. In this recipe I have stuffed tomatoes, but this would be equally delicious with eggplant and zucchini. —TasteFood
chicken broth (or water for vegetarian option)
medium eggplant, ends trimmed, peeled, finely chopped
small green pepper, stemmed, seeded, ribs removed, finely diced
shallots, finely chopped
garlic clove, minced
chopped fresh mint leaves, plus additional whole leaves for garnish
Select 8 tomatoes that have the best presentation. Slice off the tops. Scoop out centers with a spoon, taking care not to pierce the outer flesh. Lightly salt inside of tomatoes and turn upside down on a plate. Set aside with tops reserved.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cut remaining 2 tomatoes in half. Remove seeds and stems. Finely dice the tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
Bring stock to boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and remove from heat. Let steam, covered, for 5 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chopped eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté until softened and turning golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with tomatoes.
Fluff couscous with fork and add to bowl with tomatoes and eggplant. Add the green pepper, shallot, garlic, harissa, cumin, cinnamon and chopped mint. Stir to combine well.
Set aside 2 tablespoons crumbled feta. Gently stir remaining feta into couscous. Taste to see if more salt is needed.
Blot the inside of the whole tomatoes gently with a paper towel. Fill the centers with the couscous. Top with reserved feta.
Arrange tomatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish. Drizzle additional olive oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until cheese is golden, 20-25 minutes.
Remove and let tomatoes cool to room temperature. Before serving, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and reserved tomato tops.