Friday, August 1, 2014

Got Zucchini? Try stuffing it!

If you’re like me, you have a garden FULL of zucchini at this time of year.  You’ve fried it, steamed it, baked it into bread, used it to top pasta.  Well, here’s a great recipe I found in the June 2012 issue of Cooking Light.  This recipe isn’t for a busy weeknight – it takes a little time, but it’s well worth it!  Make extra, because your family will really like the unique flavor!

Persian Rice – Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and Dill 

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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

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. Discard cardamom (if you used pods) and cinnamon stick.
  5. Spoon rice mixture into a large boil.
  6. 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.
  7. Preheat broiler to high (I set mine at 450 degrees)
  8. Spoon rice mixture into each zucchini shell and broil for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned.

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