In keeping with the stuffed veggies theme, tonight I made the Stuffed Zucchini (pg. 69), which Chef says is a “bastardized version of a Turkish original.” Similar to the stuffed tomatoes, I had never stuffed zucchini before and found that it was a little more difficult to get the flesh out of the zucchini to make the boats. The zucchini flesh was tougher than the tomato flesh, more like carving out a pumpkin (which makes sense, as they are both squashes!), but I got enough out so that there would still be some zucchini in the boats, but also so I could adequately stuff them.
The filling was easy enough to make. I already had the currants from other recipes and most of the spices in my cupboard. All I had to buy was the pine nuts (which can be expensive). As I was mixing the stuffing, the smells were amazing! The combination of allspice, cloves, and cinnamon reminded me of the holidays, baking pumpkin pies and Christmas cookies…Mmmmmm 🙂
I put the boats in a big sauce pan and then stuffed the zucchini. I bought 4 small zucchini’s (Chef said to use 3 medium ones) and I had lots of extra stuffing. I tried to stuff my zucchinis as much as possible, but there was still some stuffing leftover – the recipe made more than enough. If I make it again, I would recommend buying another zucchini rather than cutting back on the filling ingredients or scooping more out of the zucchini boats. That way you can get the best of all worlds: no waste, still getting some zucchini flesh, and even more deliciousness to share!
After stuffing the boats, I boiled the water and carefully poured the boiling water, sugar, and lemon juice around the boats. I did this very slowly to make sure the water did not come as high as the filling and to make sure I didn’t disturb any of my precariously balanced (and fully stuffed) zucchinis!
Then it sat. It was supposed to sit and simmer for 40 minutes until the liquid evaporated, but it took longer than 40 minutes, every so often basting the filling with the cooking liquid.I don’t have a baster, so I just used a spoon.
Then it sat some more in the fridge (as it is intended to be served cold). I was glad that it was a miserably rainy and windy day because I started cooking this right when I got off of work, anticipating the time needed for refrigeration, so I didn’t mind waiting the extra time.
Then I got to eat it! It was…interesting. Different from anything else I think I’ve ever had before. There was the sweet spiciness of the clove, allspice, cinnamon, and currants, but there was also the nuttiness of the rice and the pine nuts, kind of like a pilaf. My rice was definitely not cooked enough…so that was disappointing. Overall, I give this 3 stars. I think that, had my rice been cooked, I would have bumped it up, though 😉 (Pictured below with some yogurt, as per Chef’s recommendation. There was no picture in the book for this one).