Kousa Mahshi (Stuffed zucchini )

Ingredients

•  8 about 7 inches long fresh courgettes

•  1/2 pound ground beef

•  1/3 cup short grain rice

•  1/4 cup parsley, chopped

•  1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

•  2 tablespoons mint, chopped

•  1/2 cup onion, finely diced

•  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•  1/2 teaspoon allspice

•  1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

•  1/2 teaspoon black pepper

•  1/2 teaspoon salt

 

•  1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

 Cooking Liquid:

•  2 tablespoons olive oil

•  1/2 cup onion, finely diced

•  2 cloves garlic, minced

•  15 ounce can diced tomatoes (or 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced)

•  1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)

•  2 teaspoons salt

•  1 teaspoon black pepper

•  3 to 4 cups water

•  Chopped fresh parsley and/or mint, garnish (optional)

 

Preparation

Wash zucchini and slice off the stem end.  leaving 1/2 inch walls, careful not to pierce the shell or the end. (Making a hole at the end of each zucchini with the corer, repeatedly digging in gently, twisting and pulling out the pulp. Do not core all the way through the opposite end. It’ll get easier with practice.) Set aside zucchini. Use the pulp for soup.

In a medium size bowl, add all the ingredients for the stuffing. Mix well with hands. Stuff the zucchini with the meat mixture leaving about 1 inch of the end open – so the mixture has room to expand.

Heat a large, deep covered skillet or pot on medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until they become translucent. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute, careful not to burn. Add the diced tomato with juices and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate tomato paste. Add salt and black pepper. Arrange stuffed zucchini in the pot so that all are on their sides (this allows cooking liquid to seep in). Add water to cover, so that zucchini are submerged (if not totally submerged – turn zucchini half way through cooking). Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes until the zucchini are tender when pierced with a fork.

Gently remove and serve hot with the tomato broth and chunks atop. Garnish with fresh parsley or mint. And, also serve with plain yogurt and rice.

 

Lara Kh.  

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