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Stuffed Zucchini In Yogurt Sauce Coosa

  • 1/2 cup rice (Chef's rice available at Pitaland or use River Rice)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and grated
  • 12 small to medium zucchini
  • 1 pound coarsely ground lamb or beef
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter, recipe below
  • Salt and pepper


  • 5 cups low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter, recipe below
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • Cornstarch slurry (made by dissolving 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 3 tablespoons cold water)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Rinse zucchini and cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon, making a hollow space for stuffing. Sprinkle insides with salt and drain upside down in a strainer for 20 to 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper toweling.

Place rice in a small bowl, cover with warm water and soak 30 minutes to soften. Drain off excess water and combine rice and meat in a bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a small frying pan and saute pine nuts until golden. Add to meat and rice. Season mixture with salt and pepper and use your hands to knead the mixture well. Fill zucchini hollows and level with metal spatula. Put halves together to make whole zucchini.

Sauce: Put 1/2 cup of the yogurt in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the zucchini in two layers. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour to make a roux, then add remaining yogurt and 3 cups of water, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture comes to a boil.

In a small frying pan over low heat, saute minced garlic in remaining 2 tablespoons clarified butter. Add dried mint and mix into sauce. Add zucchini to sauce in two layers and cook over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, being sure zucchini is always immersed in liquid. Check occasionally to be sure zucchini is not sticking out.

At the end of cooking time, remove zucchini to a plate and reduce sauce over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. A cornstarch slurry may gradually be added to the simmering sauce to achieve desired consistency. Return zucchini to sauce and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley right before serving. Makes 6 servings (2 zucchini per serving).

Dish may be made ahead and reheated.

To clarify butter: Place 1 stick of unsalted butter in a saucepan and heat until butter bubbles and foam rises to the top. Remove visible foam with a spoon, then spoon butter through a fine strainer or cheesecloth, straining out milky sediment. Clarified butter has a long shelf life and may be kept at room temperature for a short time or refrigerated or frozen for longer keeping.

Adapted from a recipe by Jocelyne Chahine

Thursday, March 20, 2003

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