Spicy and sweet lentils stuffed into juicy tomatoes. Perfect autumn fare.
¾ cup brown or Puy lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed ¼ cup golden raisins or sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes 2 Tbsp pine nuts ½ tsp ground allspice 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 Tbsp finely chopped mint Finely grated zest 1 lemon 8 medium tomatoes ½ tsp salt 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp fine dry breadcrumbs or panko crumbs
1 Put lentils in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook gently for 20- 30 minutes, until tender. Drain.
2 Heat oil in a smallish frying pan over a gentle heat and add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add sultanas and pine nuts and cook several minutes more, increasing the heat so that the onion starts to colour. Stir in allspice, parsley, mint and lemon zest, and the lentils. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
3 Slice a ‘hat’ off each tomato from the core end and use a knife, then a spoon, to remove the pulp (a grapefruit knife makes easy work of this). Drain tomatoes on a board, putting them cut side down.
4 Season tomatoes with a little salt, then pile lentil mixture into the tomatoes, top with the reserved tomato ‘hats and transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish lined with baking (parchment) paper (choose a dish with a snug fit). Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle over the crumbs. Bake in an oven preheated to 175°C for 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just showing signs of bursting their skins. Serve hot.