Stuffed Zuchini in Tomato Sauce


18 small Meat and Rice Stuffing
4 cups Meat and Rice Stuffing
2 medium onions, chopped finely
4-5 tablespoons ghee substitute
2-4 cloves garlic
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 14 ½ oz (1 x 455g) can tomatoes
4 cups water
1 teaspoon dried mint

Wash the zucchini and cut off the tops, just below the stems. Scoop put the pulp being careful not to break the skin: the other end must remain closed.
Rinse and drain the hollow zucchini. Three-quarters fill each one with stuffing, allowing for rice expansion.

Lightly brown the onions in the ghee using the saucepan in which the zucchini are to be cooking. Add the garlic and sliced tomatoes to the onions and ghee, covering the bottom of the saucepan evenly. Place the zucchini over the tomatoes, in closely packed rows and layers, sprinkling salt between each layer.

Mix the tomato paste or soup with the water and pour over the zucchini. Sprinkle with mint.

Turn a heatproof dinner plate upside-down over the zucchini to keep them in place and keep in the steam. Cover the saucepan.

Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer very slowly until the zucchini shells are tender and the filling cooked – approx 1 – 1 ½ hours.

When cooked, keep the zucchini covered and allow cooling in the juice. Reheat before serving.

To serve, drain the juice from the saucepan into another container. Gently place the zucchini on a platter and pour the juice over the top. Serve as a complete meal with side salad and bread.

For a richer flavor, some bones and a few pieces of stewing meat may be browned with the onions and left in the bottom of the saucepan to cook with the zucchini.

The zucchini may be replaced by eggplant of the same size. This dish is called Batinjaan Mihshi.

Butheina Al-Nounou