Stuffed vegetables, a staple in Mediterranean cooking, can seem daunting and a lot of hard work but these are actually very straightforward. This dish can be eaten on its own, perhaps with a perky, peppery salad and flat bread or with some grilled meat or fish. You can mix up what goes inside too, depending on what you have to hand.
Using a small paring knife, carefully cut around the top of the tomatoes, taking off the ‘lid’ in one piece. With a small spoon, scrape out the insides into a bowl, without compromising the tomatoes’ structural integrity. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes, putting them in a close fitting dish or pan and then mash up the pulp with a fork.
Put a medium pan on a low to medium heat and add 50ml of the olive oil. When hot, add the shallot, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook slowly, till translucent and sweet tasting. Add the anchovies and cook long enough for them to break down or ‘melt’ into the shallot and garlic. Add the lentils, Freekah and the reserved tomato pulp. Top up with water so the lentils and Freekah are covered by about 2cm of liquid. Turn the heat up so the mixture gently simmers and put a lid on. Check after about 25 minutes. If firm, cook for longer. If ready, take lid off and keep cooking till all the liquid has evaporated, taking care for the bottom not to burn. Add a few pinches of salt now as the Freekah and lentils will absorb it and it will create more flavour than by adding salt at the end.
Whilst the lentils are cooking, put a frying pan on the heat, add the remaining 200ml olive oil and when hot, add the aubergines. Move the pieces occasionally and keep cooking till golden brown on most sides. Put the aubergines on a plate with paper towel in order to soak up the oil.
Heat an oven to 175C Fan/ 185C non fan.
Empty the Freekah and lentils into a mixing bowl and add the aubergines, walnuts, Chermoula, Smokey Semi Dried Tomatoes and chopped dill. Mix well and check for seasoning. Use a spoon to stuff into the tomatoes, taking care not to break the wall of the tomato. Leave a space in the middle and put a spoonful of cream cheese into the middle. Put the lids of the tomatoes back on and drizzle all the tomatoes with olive oil. Place in the oven for around minutes. You want the tomatoes to be cooked but not totally falling apart. Allow to cool a little. You can then serve them or you can wait – they are delicious when cool as well. To finish, drizzle with Pomegranate Molasses, rip the basil over the top and scatter the dill tips.