I have never been to Provence, but I am really taken by the food of that region. I had some of the best food I have ever had while in the Loire Valley in France, and I am so keen to go back again.
While in Vancouver, I picked up the Cooking School Provence book and fell in love.
As soon as I could, I made the Tomates Farcies recipe with Riz Pilaf. Lovely.
I modified the tomato recipe a little bit, and it was delicious! The tomatoes were very watery, though, and despite draining them, they really gave off a ton of water when baking. I was going for firm and less ripe, but I think I went too far on the less ripe side...
Anyway, thank goodness for this cookbook. I can't wait to keep making things from it. It's such a lovely book, with really amazing photos and ideas. It's one of the few cookbooks that I have seen in a long time that I thought that I would eat almost every recipe in the book!!!
(modified from Cooking School Provence)
4 large, firm tomatoes
1 tbspn olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 sprigs of curly leaf parsley
4 leaves of fresh basil
1 bay leaf
.5 pound of extra lean ground beef
1 medium egg
1. Cut a lid from the tomato. Scoop out the insides, and discard as much of the seeds you can but keep the innards. Sprinkle with salt and place upside down in a colander to let drain.
2. Preheat oven to 400C. Oil on gratin dish that is big enough for your tomatoes.
3. Cook the ground beef with lots of salt and pepper. Set aside. Add olive oil if necessary and brown the onion until softened. Add garlic, parsley, bay leaf, and basil. Stir. Add the reserved tomato. Cook for 5 minutes or so. Add the meat and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat to cool.
4. Discard the bay leaf. Whisk the egg lightly and add to the meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Stuff the tomatoes, leaving some room at the top, and put them in the gratin dish.
6. Put the lids on and cover the pan in foil. Bake for one hour. Let cool.