Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce
Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (aka Koussa Mahshi Bi Banadoura)
from Arabesque by Claudia Roden via farm member Stephanie Aeder
2 pounds small zucchini (or Patty Pan Squash)
For the filling:
5 ounces lean ground lamb (I have substituted beef and it is equally good)
1/4 cup short grain or risotto rice
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
(I have added homemade harissa to this for those who like things spicier)
For the sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled and chopped (From my experience there is no need to peel)
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (not really necessary)
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1 to 1 1/2 lemons
1 teaspoon crushed dried mint (can also use fresh)
Wash the zucchini, slice off the stem. With a long apple corer, make a hole at the stem end of each vegetable and scoop out the flesh being careful not to break the skin, or break through the other end, which must remain closed. (I have been successful using a melon baller for this purpose.) You need to clean out all of the flesh while keeping the shell intact.
Put the filling ingredients together in a bowl and knead well by hand until thoroughly blended. Fill each zucchini, packing in the filling to within 1/2 inch of the end to allow for the expansion of the rice.
For the sauce, fry the onion the sunflower oil until golden. Use a pan that will hold the zucchini in one or two layers. Add the garlic and stir until the aroma rises, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the tomato paste (if you are using), sugar, and juice of half a lemon.
Place the stuffed zucchini side by side in one or two years in the sauce. Add water, if necessary to cover them and simmer very gently, with the lid on, over low heat, for about 45 minutes or until the zucchini are soft. (Just as an FYI, I have never found it necessary to add water.)
Carefully lift the zucchini out of the plan and place on a serving dish. Stir the mint and the juice of the remaining lemon into the sauce and continue cooking for a moment or two, then pour over the zucchini.