My (Courtney writing here) family is Lebanese and this recipe was a staple at family gatherings when I was growing up. It's simple, delicious and easy. It comes from the "family cookbook" Lebanese Cuisine: More than 200 Simple, Delicious, Authentic Recipes by Madelain Farah.
So, when the zukes come on (which is early this year, thanks to a cool moveable high tunnel we built last year), this recipe comes in handy.
- 3 lbs zucchini (small-medium)
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 c uncooked long-grain rice
- 1 lb lamb shoulder, finely chopped, or ground lamb (or ground beef or pork)
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbs salt, plus 2 t
- Pepper to taste
- 3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced, or one 1lb can of stewed tomatoes
Core the zucchini, leaving ½ inch walls. (Don't pierce the shell!) Rinse the zucchini in cold water and drain. Saute the onions in butter in a large pan. Rinse and drain the rice. Place rice in a bowl. Add the meat, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon salt and the pepper. Mix well. Add half of the diced tomatoes to the meat and mix.
Stuff the zucchini three-quarters full with the meat mixture or within an inch of the end. (The rice needs room to expand.) Arrange the zucchini over the sauteed onions in the pan and pour the rest of the tomatoes on top. Barely cover with water and 2 teaspoons of additional salt.
Cover and cook on medium flame for about 35 minutes or until rice is done. Gently remove zucchini to a serving platter. Serve the liquid in a pitcher to pour over zucchini. (My grandmother would also suggest serving with lemon juice drizzled on top.)
(Note, if you want to skip the sauteeing of the onions, you can add the chopped raw onion into the meat mixture. It will give it a more onion-y flavor, which we like.)