After the first bite of this meal I was not a fan. Of course my first thought was to blog or not to blog. Sharing kitchen failures is okay. However after a few bites I began to enjoy this a little more, I wouldn’t say it lived up to the rave reviews attached to the recipe BUT I also didn’t exactly follow the recipe… Stuffed vegetables are not generally something I love but I thought since I had some lamb mince I would give it a try. My friend S. was impressed I had opted for a veggie meal, till I broke news there was lamb in the stuffing mixture, which was returned with “of course you’d add meat”. Sorry S.!
I’m still on my stay-cation at my friend’s house – I should specify male friends who work out of town. Their cupboard consists of a can of beans, mac and cheese, and microwave popcorn. Can’t forget pepper, like a lot of pepper, different kinds, but a lot of pepper. So my access to herbs and spices are limited. As are kitchen staples like tomato paste and stocks which are standard in my cupboards and I just assume are on hand when beginning to cook. Really the only thing I missed on was the onion (again something you just have) and the tomato paste, but I think that these are probably two key ingredients for flavour and to hold the stuffing together.
Plus it was one of those days where things were just not coming together. My mind was not on cooking and it showed. Since I’m by myself I was going to halve this recipe. The key to halving a recipe is to reduce all ingredients not just some of them. Now that I’ve imparted that earth shattering wisdom… I halved the lamb mince, but not the rice, tomato or egg, and didn’t have the onion or tomato paste. As I write this no wonder it wasn’t a stellar meal!! :S It was actually better than it sounds. I think I will try this meal again once I’m home with fully stocked cupboards.
Not only did I not have all the ingredients I also did not read the instructions closely. Having never hollowed a zucchini I mistakenly thought I should do this with a knife. WRONG!! I then transitioned to a spoon which worked much better. Feeling pretty great about myself how clever I was to figure this out, I looked closer at the recipe to discover step one:
Cut each courgette in half lengthways and scoop out the pulpy centre with a teaspoon, leaving an outside shell, 1cm thick. Reserve the pulp, and chop lightly.
Thanks recipe! :S
Can you spot the difference? As you can see this started out well.
I also used cherry tomatoes instead of plum since I already had some on hand. Really starting to wonder why I’m sharing all this with you.
Stuffing mixture all together. In case you are wondering this is a tiny frying pan, the boys have two sizes of frying pans baby and huge. So I stuck with the smaller option. I also added some cheese to the mixture to bind the ingredients together after I realized the missing tomato paste.
My version of baked stuffed zucchini.
- 4 large zucchini, about 230g each
- 150g long-grain rice
- 2 firm tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint (optional)
- 375g lean minced lamb
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250g passata or a lightly diluted tomato sauce
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
- 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut each zucchini in half lengthways and scoop out the pulpy centre with a teaspoon, leaving an outside shell, 1cm thick. Reserve the pulp, and chop lightly.
- Place the zucchini in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until tender – they should pierce easily with a fork.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 12–15 minutes until just tender. Drain, allow to stand for 5 minutes, then add the chopped plum tomatoes, egg, mint, if using, and pepper to season. Set aside.
- Fry the lamb over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until browned. Add the onion and garlic, cook for a further 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the passata, reserved courgette pulp and rosemary. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes. Stir in the rice mixture and mix together.
- Spoon the stuffing mixture into the zucchini ‘boats’ and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 15–20 minutes until golden and crispy on top. Serve immediately.
Thankfully it is hump day!!!