Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cooking from the web – Food & Wine – Spiced Lamb Stuffed Zucchini

Having experienced such great success with the Food & Wine database, I immediately started searching for another zucchini centric recipe. Soon enough, I found one that looked more than interesting: spiced lamb stuffed zucchini. After looking through the ingredients, I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to try out the ground lamb I had picked up at Paul Anthony’s butcher shop.

After rounding up my ingredients, I started soaking ½ cup of Arborio rice in a bowl of water. With the rice soaking, I turned to the zucchini.

Having sliced 4 zucchini in half, I set to work with a small soup spoon.

Not too bad…I also made sure to reserve a cup of the flesh.

I then finely chopped the reserved zucchini flesh and moved on to the rest of the recipe.

With my rice drained

It was time to add a few more ingredients

The chopped, reserved zucchini, ¼ teaspoon of tumeric, ½ lb of ground lamb, 1 tablespoon of softened unsalted butter, ¼ teaspoon of cumin and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper were all added to the bowl. It was at this point, I realized that I was completely out of cumin seeds. I decided to add another ¼ teaspoon or so of ground cumin to make up for it.

Per the instructions, I started mixing it together by hand.

To ensure a moist stuffing, I added a ¼ cup of water as well.

With my stuffing ready and the zucchini waiting, I was ready to start cooking.

I was intrigued with the next step of the recipe.

After slicing them ¼ inch thick, I lined a deep skillet with tomato slices.

Next came a liberal dose of salt & pepper.

I almost forget the most difficult step.

Stuffing the zucchini was more than challenging, not to mention the tumeric had turned my hands a lovely shade of yellow.

With my zucchini stuffed and nearly overflowing, it was time for a puzzle

Eventually, every piece of zucchini was in the pan and ready for the heat.

After adding a cup of water

The pan was brought to a boil and then left to simmer for 25 or so minutes. The idea is to cook the batch until the lamb is cooked through and the rice is tender. I love vague instructions.

The time flew by and I was soon picking my stuffed zucchini out of the pan.

Don’t they look delicious?

Of course, I couldn’t forget the tomatoes

The idea is to mash them and then cook over high heat until thickened. The recipe calls for 4 minutes of high heat, but I reached my desired consistency in much less than that.

The tomato sauce was quickly spooned over the waiting zucchini.

Even with the missing cumin seeds, everything seems to have turned out quite well.

Taking the all important first bite revealed that I had come away with a winner. The lamb stuffing was deliciously flavored with just enough cumin and tumeric, and the zucchini was soft and tasty from having soaked up all the flavors of the pan. I had set out trying to find a use for some of the garden’s overflow and with a little help from Food & Wine, I had enjoyed great success.

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