This is a great dish for using up small amounts of leftover rice. We don’t eat a lot of rice, but when I do cook some, I always make a bit extra and use it to make either Nasi Goreng or these stuffed zucchinis. These are so good that sometimes I don’t want to wait to have leftover rice and back home in this situation, I’d buy one of those microwavable brown rice sachets.
Not surprisingly, I can’t find them here. Apparently in Asian countries they don’t like to insult their beloved carbohydrate by doing something as atrocious as buying it in a pre-packaged, microwavable form. Fair call, Aussies get just as precious about Vegemite, so I don’t begrudge that for a second.
I didn’t have any leftover rice and I had searched high and low for those microwavable gems with no luck, so I attempted to cook only the very small amount of rice that I needed. That did not work out well. It wasn’t enough to cook evenly and I burnt it. Yes, I burnt rice. So if like me, you don’t have any leftover cooked rice and you don’t want to use a blasphemous microwave rice pouch, just cook ½ cup of brown rice via the absorption method, or, the minimum amount in a rice cooker and save any leftovers for something else.
I prefer this dish with brown rice but any long grain white rice works too.
Scoop out the flesh of the zucchinis with a small spoon so that they look like little boats. Try to leave about a 5mm rim or border of zucchini, so that they don’t collapse completely while cooking.
I used lamb and rosemary sausages as I have not seen any lamb mince here. Just push out the sausage mince and discard the skins. Alternatively lamb mince works well too.
Rosemary is a woody herb so it needs to be chopped quite finely, whereas mint is leafy and doesn’t have to be so fine.
I love the addition of golden raisins and pine nuts. I’ve also made this with sultanas and roughly chopped macadamia nuts which works well too.
Don’t worry about being too careful with the stuffing, as there will be enough meat and rice mix to stuff it fairly high anyway. Any overlap, or pieces that fall out, will brown up nicely and give texture and flavour.
Zucchini Stuffed with Spiced Lamb
Ingredients – serves 2-3
- 2 large zucchinis
- ½ red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 fat lamb and rosemary sausages or about 180g of lamb mince
- 1 tbs dried ground cumin
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 2tbs pine nuts
- ¼ cup of golden raisins
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbs chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2/3 cup cooked brown or white rice
- Salt and pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Prepare each zucchini by cutting it in half lengthwise, then across, to give you 4 pieces from each zucchini. Scoop out the flesh of the zucchini pieces with a small spoon leaving a rim around the edge.
- Roughly chop half of the zucchini flesh and set aside. Discard the rest.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic gently, till the onions are translucent.
- Add the sausage mince to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon while browning.
- Once the sausage mince is browned, add the retained zucchini flesh, cumin and tomato paste and cook for a further minute or until the sauce comes to a gentle simmer.
- Turn off the heat and stir through the pine nuts, raisins, herbs and rice. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Generally plain mince will need more seasoning than sausage mince, as sausages already have salt added to them.
- Lightly oil a baking dish that will fit the zucchini, then place the zucchini pieces into it, hollowed-out side up.
- Press the meat and rice mix into the hollows of the zucchini and pile it up across the top of them.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until stuffing is brown and the zucchini is cooked through.
- Delicious served with a green salad.