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Turkish-style stuffed zucchini

A Turkish family favorite...

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • ⅔ Cup of short-grain rice
  • 2 Tablespoons of currants
  • 1 Tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped parsley (plus a little more to use as a garnish)
  • ½ teaspoon of dried mint
  • ½ teaspoon of ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • ¾ Cup of boiling water
  • 1½ Tablespoons of sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper

Directions

  1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil until the pieces have softened.
  2. Add the rice, currants, pine nuts, parsley, mint, allspice, cinnamon, and half of the lemon juice to the pan.
  3. On low heat, cook the blend for an additional five minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
  4. Cut the zucchini into equal parts lengthwise.
  5. Hollow out some of the flesh to create "canoes."
  6. Place the "canoes" into a shallow saucepan just large enough to accommodate them all side by side.
  7. Fill them with the rice blend.
  8. Add the boiling water, remaining lemon juice, sugar, and some salt around the zucchini "canoes." (The liquids should not be high enough to come into contact with the filling)
  9. Cover the pan and simmer everything for 30-40 minutes. Be sure to baste the rice blend with the cooking juices every so often.
  10. When the rice is al dente, remove the pan from the heat and allow everything to cool before refrigerating.

Serve this to up to six people, as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvres, at just above refrigerator temperature with a garnish of parsley and alongside a small helping of goat's-milk yogurt.