Stuffed Tomatoes wrapped in Bacon and slow-cooked in Bechamel Sauce

Ed Baines combines tomatoes, couscous, bacon and a flavourful cheese sauce to create a rich and tasty dish
By Ed Baines
Stuffed Tomatoes wrapped in Bacon and slow-cooked in Bechamel Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus soaking, plus cooling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 9 tomatoes
  • 9 rashers of bacon
  • 85 g mature cheddar cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
  • dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • salt, and freshly ground pepper

For the Béchamel sauce:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves
  • 600 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 40 g flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated

For the couscous stuffing:

  • 85 g couscous
  • 60 g pine kernels, toasted
  • 2 handfuls of seedless raisins
  • 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemons, grated
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of ground cumin

Method

1. First prepare the Béchamel sauce. Stud the onion half with the cloves. Place it in a pan with the milk and bring to a gentle simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter gently, then slowly stir in the flour to form a paste. Cook stirring for about 1 minute over moderate heat, then slowly pour in the hot milk through a sieve, stirring constantly.

3. Once all the milk has been mixed in, add in the bay leaf and mustard. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and simmer for 20 minutes stirring now and then.

4. To make the couscous stuffing, soak the couscous according to packet instructions.

5. In a large bowl, mix the soaked couscous with the pine nuts, raisins, parsley, mint, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and cumin. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, mixing well.

6. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3.

7. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add in the tomatoes and blanch for one minute. Drain, cool and peel.

8. While the tomatoes are cooling, gently fry the bacon on both sides in a dry non-stick frying pan.

9. Slice a 'lid' off each tomato (reserving the lids) and carefully scoop out the seeds. Stuff each hollowed-out tomato with a little of the couscous mixture.

10. Top each tomato with a tomato lid and wrap each one with a rasher of bacon, securing the bacon with a cocktail stick.

11. Mix the Cheddar, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce and mustard into the béchamel sauce and check the seasoning.

12. Spoon just enough of the Béchamel sauce into a large ovenproof dish to cover the base. Fill the dish with the bacon-wrapped tomatoes and pour over the remaining Béchamel sauce.

13. Bake the tomatoes for 40 minutes.

14. Serve straight from the oven.

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