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Chicken Sausage and Rice Stuffed Beefsteak Tomatoes

The number and kind of chicken sausages available these days is mind-boggling. I counted 8 varieties—and they didn’t even have the one I wanted! Spice and herb quantities and types are just suggestions here. Taste the meat mixture, after it is thoroughly cooked, to determine which spices are needed.--Barb L.

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

2 Chicken Sausages or as many as needed to add up to about ¾ pound

4 large beefsteak tomatoes

½ cup COOKED rice or other grain (I really like to use the Minute Rice Multi-Grain Medley with rice, quinoa, etc), or leftover if you have on hand

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp breadcrumbs, homemade if possible

1 clove garlic or about ½-1 tsp garlic powder

Other spices as desired (this is tricky because many sausages already have spices added. Some ideas might be basil, oregano, cayenne pepper flakes, or Italian seasoning.

1 Tbsp Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Choice. Some suggestions: Garlic, Basil, Tuscan Herb, Herbs de Provence, or Gremolata

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the casings from the sausages and brown the meat over a medium-high heat in a skillet, breaking the meat apart as it cooks.

Meanwhile, remove the tops from the tomatoes like you would the top of a pumpkin for carving, angling the knife around the top and leaving the star-like stem. Remove the top and set it aside. Using a spoon, carefully remove the pulp and seeds from the tomato, leaving a wall of about ¼- ½ “ around the outside. Place all the pulp in a sieve over a bowl. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.

Add the seasonings desired to the meat, tasting the fully cooked mixture as you go. My sausages had cayenne pepper in them. I added some basil and garlic, and a little Italian seasoning, but add what you like. (If you haven’t cooked your grain, squeeze the pulp and use the juice from the tomatoes to cook it)

Chop or squeeze the remaining pulp. Add ½ cup pulp from the tomatoes to the meat. Cook about 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes have softened. Add the cooked rice or grain to the meat and tomatoes. Cook until everything is warm, about 3-5 minutes.

Place the 4 tomatoes in a baking dish. Crowd them a bit so they will stand up when they cook. Add 1 tsp of bread crumbs to the bottom of each tomato. Add about ¼ cup of the meat/tomato/rice mixture to each scooped out tomato being sure that the mixture is pushed into the sides. Divide any remaining mixture among the tomatoes. Set the tomato top back on.

Brush the tops and sides of the tomatoes with the Flying Olive EVOO of Choice. Add ¼- 1/3 cup of water to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, longer as needed. Tomatoes vary in size, watch the tomatoes carefully as they cook. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve.

Submitted by Barb L.