Lamb-Stuffed Zucchini with Canteloupe Sauce
I love to cook. I really do. Perhaps because it reminds me of my mother and grandmother. Perhaps because it is an opportunity to express myself with something that also demonstrates my love for those around me. This recipe is especially meaningful because it includes memories from several parts of my life – the fresh produce of an Appalachian summer, the flavors of the middle east, the hot and sweet coolness of southwestern cooking and the unending question of what to do with all the zucchini your garden produces. So with love to all those things and especially to my mom and grandma, here it is. By the way, this makes plenty of the sauce which is also excellent as a cold soup!
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 lb mushrooms (preferably shitake as they are very moist)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup walnut halves (or 1/4 cup pine nuts)
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup sweet peppers (red, green or yellow)
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp baharat dried spice or curry powder
6 medium medium zucchini (halved with the center scooped out and added to the lamb) 1 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp Salt and pepper (or to taste)
4 cups cantaloupe (1/2 medium)
2 cups yogurt (whole milk, plain greek)
2 tsp dried mint (or 1/4 cup fresh)
2 tbsp basil, chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1 tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers, or to taste
1 tsp sugar
For the Lamb
1 Halve the zucchini and scoop the centers into a bowl. Set the zucchini shells aside.
2 In a food processor, finely chop the mushrooms, onion, garlic, walnuts and tomatoes.
3 Combine the lamb, chopped vegetables, zuchinni centers and spices in a large bowl. Using your hands, combine well.
4 Form the mixture into logs and press into the zucchini halves. Place in a lightly oiled baking dish.
5 Sprinkle with the sesame seed.
6 Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until the meat is done and the zucchini is crisp tender.
7 Serve with the canteloupe sauce
For the Sauce
1 Combine the canteloupe, yogurt, mint, jalapeno and basil and sugar in a food processor or blender. Mix until thoroughly combined. Chill for several hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes