Paullette’s stuffed tomatoes – Tomates farcies

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Paulette was my grandmother’s cook when I was little. She had a terrible attitude but she knew how to keep a kitchen running and had the best traditional recipes. The queen of leftovers! I trust you know me quite well by now: I have a terrible memory! I rarely remember people’s names. I do not remember what I did this morning. I do not even remember my first kiss. But believe me, I do remember Paulette’s cuisine.

Ahhhh Paulette’s stuffed tomatoes. Nothing to do with the boiled crap they serve with steak (and a nasty attitude) in Paris restaurants. I am talking about delicious, juicy, caramelized balls of pure French heaven!!!


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Paulette has long been out of the picture (she retired in the early 80s), and the only person who could have given me her recipe was my grandmother. Only my dear grandmother died very young (101) in 2009 and I never got the recipe. I thought she’d be around for at least 10 more years and didn’t bother to ask for it.

But my dear friends, I have great news! After many failed experiments, I finally managed to develop a recipe that would have made Paulette proud! 

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For 14 beautiful stuffed tomatoes (2-3 per person), you will need:

  • 18 big, meaty tomatoes. Yes, 18 tomatoes for 14 stuffed tomatoes. You’ll see why below. And by the way: stuffed tomatoes are a summer dish. The quality of the result, as always, depends on the quality of the produce!
  • 2 pounds of sausage stuffing seasoned by your butcher. 
  • 1 small fistful of fresh persillade (I put 2 cloves garlic for 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley)
  • 1 big glass of olive oil
  • A small glass of water
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Stale bread (the equivalent of three big fists worth). The bread should be heavy and airy and the crust taken out. Bad bread has a tendency to turn into a mush when soaked in milk
  • 1/8 of a gallon of milk (3 glasses?)
  • 2 eggs

The steps:

  1. Cut 4 of your 18 tomatoes into pieces and place them in a baking dish. Pour a small glass of olive oil and a bit of salt. Put in the oven and let the tomatoes caramelize (turn to dark red/brown color) at 400°F (about 2 hours). Stir every half hour after the first hour.
  2. Make a hole in each of the remaining tomatoes and throw away all of the inside
  3. Dip the bread in the milk and add it to the sausage meat with all the other ingredients, including the caramelized tomatoes cut into small pieces
  4. Fill each tomato with stuffing. Make sure some of it comes out of the tomato. Broiled stuffing gives an even stronger flavor to the dish
  5. Put a little water and olive oil in the dish and bake at 400°F for at least 1 hour

Enjoy and have a drink in Paulette’s honor!

Below is a picture of the rude grandmother who forgot to give me Paulette’s recipes before she passed :0)

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57 Comments Add yours

  1. jkaybay says:

    Wonderful photo! It’s true that food memories last the longest 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to taste these.

  3. One of our family favourites. Looking forward to trying.

  4. Brigitte Avigdor says:

    I wish there has been a way to print the fabulous recipe in less than 6 pages

  5. gigiistheone says:

    Oh my goodness; YUMMY! Thank you!

  6. Leilani says:

    I am in the presence of something special. 🙂

  7. terrepruitt says:

    Oh my! These sound DELICIOUS! Being a cheese lover, I would be tempted to top them with a sprinkle! 🙂 Not that they would “need” it because they sound perfect as is!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Cheese is ALWAYS a good option 😉

      1. terrepruitt says:

        Oh I knew I liked you!!!!! ;-). Cheese is awesome. In your area of the world it is probably even so mich better!

  8. What a great recipe! Glad you eventually worked it out. 😃

  9. This looks really good. It would make a great video. 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! Videos take way too much time I’m afraid 😩

      1. Oh no! That’s a shame.

  10. Cynthia says:

    Oh, yum! This is perfect for the beautiful tomatoes that are coming in at all our local farms. . .Thank you, Stephane!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hope you try the recipe Cynthia 😉

  11. This sounds delicious, Stephane. I’m so happy you could finally replicate it and shame on Grandma for not thinking of you!! 🙂

    janet

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha ha!

  12. Sabine says:

    They look mouthwatering, one of my favorite summer dishes and, along with zucchini, a frequent friend on our table! Love the photo, Stéphane!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Sabine! I love stuffed Zucchini as well! Summer’s the best 😜

  13. These look delicious! Thanks for sharing such a great dish!

  14. Eha says:

    A double tomato-punch for which Sandra and I will have to wait till Jan-Feb! T’will be worth it methinks. Shall flavour my own sausage stuffing: don’t trust the local butchers . . . . and, sorry, shall also find ways to use the pulp left over . . . thanks for a fantastic recipe . . .

    1. Zelda says:

      How about salmorejo, an Andalucian dip/soup?
      Whiz together tomato pulp, soaked stale bread, garlic, and a splash of sherry vinegar. Season, and chill. Before serving, swirl in a good glug of olive oil. And garnish with chopped boiled egg and jamon.

  15. What time is dinner? I adore tomatoes…..and all things French! 🍅

  16. That is one gorgeous stuffed tomato and you are one great story teller! Thank-you so much for sharing 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you Marisa!

  17. ladyredspecs says:

    I adore late summer tomatoes anywhichway. These look and sound sensational Stephane. When the time is right I’ll make them.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m with you! The very best ones are the August through october ones 😉

  18. Stéphane, I am completely looking forward to making this when more of my tomatoes ripen! Our tomatoes are rather small this year though, would you think use less baking time?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It’s really up to you. I like them really dark as you can see in the picture. Nothing like fresh tomatoes from the garden. They’ll be delicious for sure 😉

  19. Steve says:

    You forgot the whisky or cognac…to drink while making them. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😜

  20. Conor Bofin says:

    Stéphane, you are on form. Delighted to see how with wit and history you can make such a dish so totally appealing.
    Bravo Mon Ami,
    Conor

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks my friend! I hope it’s a little cooler in Ireland than here. Temperatures are rising again 😖☀️

      1. Conor Bofin says:

        About 20º today. Fine weather for heading back into work. I was not in the mood. We got some great stuff in the brocant. It will appear in time. Thanks for the sage advice.
        C

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Oh I forgot about that. So glad you liked it!!!

          1. Conor Bofin says:

            Loved it. I’ll tell you again what we got. delighted with the haul.

          2. My French Heaven says:

            Coming back from France with a trunkload of garlic and silver, you are set up to fend any vampire attack 👹

  21. beautiful blogpost in every way…merci!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks!

  22. All Thyme Favourites says:

    These look lovely, and the photographs are stunning – they tell such a story!

  23. Amanda says:

    i am so looking forward to making this recipe sometime this week. Thank you for sharing a great little story and recipe : )

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope you like it Amanda!

  24. Nadia says:

    Delicious! A truely classic recipe,

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉

  25. A lovely recipe and I do think Paulette and your Grandmother would be very proud your stuffed tomatoes sound and look fantastic.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I think so too 😉 thanks for stopping by My French Heaven 😊

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Sadie!

  26. I always love the stories behind your recipes, Stephane. And I love stuffed peppers. These sound wonderful. I must try them 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      These are tomatoes but I’m sure the same recipe will work perfectly with peppers 😉

      1. I meant to write tomatoes! Sorry. I love the post but I often cook stuffed peppers too. Too rushed in writing my comment 😄

        1. My French Heaven says:

          ☺️

  27. Jasmine S. says:

    What a sweet post! I love recipes that have been a part of the family for years. You definitely made her proud – this looks incredible!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Jasmine! I hope you’ll make it for your loved ones and start a new tradition 😉

      1. Jasmine S. says:

        I think that’s the best idea I’ve heard all day! 🙂

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