Easy stuffed vegetables Niçois style

Easy stuffed vegetables Nicois style

Small stuffed vegetables, les petits farcis niçois, are a classic dish in Nice. There is not any “one and only” recipe to make these, but almost every grandmother in Nice has “her” recipe for the stuffing. This dish could be very time-consuming as sometimes a different filling was used for each of six vegetables! This kind of cooking was for the courageous small ladies of Nice who were not afraid of spending the whole day in kitchen and preparing a true fête.

Basically, locally grown or processed ingredients were used: vegetables, herbs, eggs, cheese, sometimes a bit of meat, sometimes wild mushrooms. Rice was often used in fillings to stretch out the small amount of meat or ham.

My easy, modern twist of this classic recipe is inspired by a plat du jour, dish of the day we once had for lunch at le Gustoso in Cour Saleya in the old town of Nice. And I guarantee that you don’t need to spend a whole day in the kitchen!

NB! Nowadays, it is difficult to find small vegetables that were used in the classic recipe. Even here in Nice, the Spanish imported bell peppers seem to be huge. If you can’t find small vegetables, you may very well reduce the variety of vegetables from the classic six. Large aubergines often have hard skins and can be replaced by green bell peppers.
Ingredients for two servings of stuffed vegetables Nicois style

2 servings

1 small aubergine or green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 medium round tomato
1 small round courgette
1 medium onion, peeled
Olive oil
About 150- 170 g lean minced beef, pref. 5% fat
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
1 medium free-range egg
5 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1 tsp Provencal herbs
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

Wash the aubergine and cut it in half lengthways. Scoop out pulp from it with a spoon and set aside.  Leave about 1- 1,5 cm shell.
Halve the bell pepper lengthways, remove ribs and seeds.

Microwave the peeled onion for 2- 3 minutes in a covered small dish with 1 tsp water. Then drain and cool. Cut it in half crosswise and remove the centre, leaving a shell of about 3 layers. Set aside the centre of the onion.

Halve the courgette crosswise and scoop out pulp, leaving about 1- 1,5 cm shell. Set aside the pulp. 

Cut the tomato in half crosswise, scoop out the pulp and set aside.

The prepared vegetables ready for filling

Chop all the scooped out vegetables and mix them. In a large frying pan, warm 2 tbsp olive oil over low- medium heat. Cook the vegetable mix for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the minced beef and garlic, season with salt, pepper and Provencal herbs, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat, allow to cool slightly. Then stir in the egg. 

Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C.

Arrange the vegetable shells on an oiled baking tray. Fill each shell with stuffing.

Grate the parmesan and mix with breadcrumbs. Scatter the mixture on top of the vegetables. Then drizzle with olive oil, 1- 2 tsp per vegetable.
Stuffed vegetables ready to go to oven

Bake for about 30- 40 minutes in 180⁰ C or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve lukewarm, because then the vegetables are tastiest. They make a nice lunch or simple supper served à la Gustoso: place a heap of small salad leaves, mesclun, in the middle of the plate and arrange the stuffed vegetables around the salad. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the salad and serve with good bread.


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