Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ren Behan: Kousa Mahshi (Lebanese Stuffed Globe Zucchini)

I really need to stop buying random produce at the grocery store.  But this time of year is so incredibly perfect for trying all sorts of fun little treats.  This is the last fruitful gasp of the summer.  And since I don't have zucchini taking over my patio (like most people's vegetable patches), I figured I could do the community a solid and actually EAT some of the overwhelming crop.

Kousa Mahshi (Lebanese Stuffed Globe Zucchini)
Adapted from Ren Behan

8 globe zucchini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon group allspice
⅔ cup long grain Basmati rice
1½ cups hot lamb stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Extra chopped mint and parsley, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the tops off the zucchini and set aside. Using a small knife, spoon, or melon baller, carefully hollow out the insides of the zucchini. Chop the flesh, and also put aside. Place the hollowed zucchini in a roasting tin, sprinkle with two tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes (until tender).

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for a few minutes to soften. Add the ground lamb and fry, breaking up the large clumps with a wooden spoon, until brown, about five minutes. Add the chopped zucchini, cinnamon, and allspice, and cook for another two minutes. Stir in the rice and pour in the hot stock. Stir in the mint and parsley.  Bring back to the boil and then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Take the zucchini out of the oven and carefully spoon in the cooked rice mixture. Replace zucchini caps.  Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately with chopped fresh mint or parsley sprinkled over the top.

Makes 4 servings

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