Persian Rice – Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and Dill
6 medium zucchini
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tblsp olive oil
3/4 cup jasmine rice (I used brown rice)
6 cardamom pods (or the equivalent in ground cardamom)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (I used a little extra)
1 1/4 cups water
8 dried apricots, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup – I added more because I love dried apricots)
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice
2 tblsp fresh orange juice
1/3 cup chopped shelled dry roasted, unsalted pistachios (I used salted and didn’t chop mine, because I like lots of pistachio crunch and taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving about 1/2 inch thick shell. Chop pulp. Place zucchini halves, cut sides up on an oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 of the salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tblsp oil. Add rice, cardamom, and cinnamon, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 tsp salt, cumin, red pepper, and 1 1/4 cups water (I usually use double the water as rice, so if you have 3/4 cup rice, use 1 1/2 cups water) Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
- Discard cardamom (if you used pods) and cinnamon stick.
- Spoon rice mixture into a large boil.
- Combine remaining 2 tblsp of oil, remaining salt and pepper, orange rind, and juices in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk. Add dressing, reserved zucchini pulp, pistachios, and remaining ingredients to rice mixture and mix.
- Preheat broiler to high (I set mine at 450 degrees)
- Spoon rice mixture into each zucchini shell and broil for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned.