Stuffed zucchini with chicken and cilantro


The Lebanese Kitchen, by Salma Hage has certainly become a new favorite of mine.

Phaidon has done it again. Filled with 500 delicious and healthy recipes and beautiful pictures, I have not been disappointed by the many recipes I have tried. Scallion and chile pancakes, scrambled eggs with lamb and pine nuts, garlic, almond and pomegranate soup and spaghetti with lamb and cashew nuts are just a few examples of the wonderful recipes, very clearly written by the author. It will simply make you want to come back for more. I urge you to get that cookbook; it is essential to every foodie’s collection!

Stuffed zucchini

For 4 servings, you will need:

4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
300 g ground chicken or turkey
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon seven spice mix*
2 tablespoons tahini
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup plain yogurt
juice and grated zest of half a lime
4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Brush the zucchini with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
3. While the zucchini is roasting, cook the filling: cook the rice in the chicken broth for about 12 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. In a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the chicken, breaking it up as you go along. Add the garlic, cinnamon, seven spice mix and the tahini and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the chicken, stir and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat off and set aside.
4. Scoop out the flesh of the zucchini with a melon baller and use in another of your favourite recipes.
5. Fill the zucchini with the chicken and rice mixture and put on a cookie sheet along with the pine nuts. Cook in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes, until the zucchini is warmed through and the pine nuts are toasted.
6. While the zucchini boats are in the oven, prepare the sauce: combine the yogurt, cilantro, lemon, lime and salt and pepper.
7. Serve the zucchini on warm plates, drizzle the sauce over and top with pine nuts.

* For the seven spice mix, buy a good quality Lebanese spice mix or make your own: combine 5 teaspoons each ground allspice and ground cloves, 4 teaspoons each ground nutmeg, fenugreek and ground ginger and 3 1/2 teaspoons each pepper and cinnamon.

Stuffed zucchini

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