Wednesday 7 December 2011

Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

I realised that some people might want the recipe for the stuffed zucchini from the other day. It's very simple, and the good news is that once you've tried it, you can use the same technique to stuff other vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, squash, pumpkin or tomatoes.

You can make this a vegetarian dish by substituting the mince for a mixture of lentils and TVP (soy mince).
Essentially, take your favourite recipe for burger patties/meatloaf/rissoles/meatballs and stuff it into a vegetable :)

A note on the hollowing-out process. My zucchini was very large, and insides containing the seeds had become fluffy, so I scraped it all out and it went to compost. If you're using smaller zucchini, save the insides and use them to make some frittata or pasta sauce.

The making of...

Stuffed Zucchini (serves 4)

1 large or 4 medium zucchini
500g beef or lamb mince
1 egg
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup finely diced red capsicum
olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (whole)
chilli flakes to taste
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped italian parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat an oven to 180degC, and line a large tray with baking paper.
To prepare the zucchini, remove the stem end, and a very small section from the flower end. Slice the zucchini lengthways. You may need to shave a little off the side so that it sits on the tray without wobbling.
Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Cook the spring onions and capsicum for 2-3 minutes until soft and tender, then add the cumin, allspice, chilli, garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl mix the mince, egg, rice, onion mixture, parsley and season well with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix - it gives the best consistency.
Fill the zucchini with the mince mixture. Wet your hands and smooth off the top of the mixture. Cover lightly with foil.
Place in the oven and cook for 45minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the mince has browned on top. The zucchini should be nice and tender.

To make a quick tomato sauce, add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes to a frying pan over a med/low heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, salt and pepper, and some paprika and/or chilli powder (I used hot smoked paprika). Allow to gently bubble and thicken.

If the zucchini is very large, you can carve it up and serve, or just serve the smaller zucchini whole with sauce spooned over the top. Serve with some salads and perhaps some hommus or greek yoghurt.

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