Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stuffed Zucchini

(4 servings)

This tasty Mediterranean dish is often made with lamb or beef. I used ground turkey thighs this time and thought they were quite good.  This entire recipe calls for only half a pound of meat!

3 medium zucchini, about 2 1/2 lbs

1/2 lb ground turkey, lamb or beef
1/2 cup raw long grain rice
2 tbsp currants
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped or 2 tsp dried dill
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped or 2 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint or 1 tsp dried mint
2 cups chicken broth or beef broth if using beef or lamb
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Wash the zucchini and cut each one into 3 or 4 sections. Using a melon scoop, scoop out the insides of each section leaving a "floor" in each one. You will end up with little zucchini "cups". Reserve the pulp for another use (I will post a recipe tomorrow). Set aside.

Combine the ground meat, rice, currants, dill, mint, salt, cardamom, allspice, pepper and tomato paste until well mixed.

Fill the hollowed out zucchini loosely with the meat mixture; the rice will expand during cooking and if the filling is too tight, the zucchini containers will burst.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot with a tight fitting container. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or so, then add the onion. Saute the mixture until the onion has softened and becomes translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and mint.

Place the stuffed zucchini in the pot with the tops facing up. Distribute the tomato mixture evenly around the zucchini.

Pour in the broth and cover the pot. Simmer over low heat for about an hour or until the meat and rice are cooked.

Remove the zucchini from the pot and increase the heat. Briskly cook the tomato mixture until the liquid has reduced by about half; about 10 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed. Return the zucchini briefly to the pot to reheat, then serve.

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