Recipe: Lamb mince stuffed zucchini with Romesco sauce
I wanted to make something different with zucchinis, or courgettes to some, as they are cheap and plentiful in Australia this time of year. I’ve made lots of other stuffed vegetables like eggplant, cabbage and red peppers but I’ve never used zucchini as a vehicle. This is a very nice, light dinner meal, which you can beef up up with an extra side of veggies or sweet potatoes.
For this recipe, I opted for lamb mince, pine nuts and Mediterranean flavours of garlic, paprika and olive oil. If you can’t find lamb mince you can do what I did and grind some lamb meat with a bit of fat or bacon. You will need a food processor or a meat grinder. I always recommend to own a food processor, it will save you a ton of time over and over again. For the sauce, I decided to make a Romesco-like puree with leftover zucchini flesh, red peppers and tomato. Nothing is wasted in our house!
- 6 medium zucchinis (don’t pick small ones as you will find it hard to scoop out the flesh)
- 6 lamb loin chops or other lamb meat that has a little fat on it, makes about 400gm of mince
- 1/2 medium brown onion, diced
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 8 Kalamata olives, without pits
- 1 small red chill, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced roughly
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 large red bell pepper (capsicum), seeds out and diced
- 1 small brown onion, peeled and diced
- 1 cup zucchini flesh (you can leave it out if cooking the sauce at a different time)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat oven to 180C.
- Slice zucchinis in half, going length ways. Using a small teaspoon or a small size melon scoop, remove the flesh making sure the skins stay in tact, maybe 20-30mm thick. Chop 1 cup of zucchini flesh and reserve for later.
- Toast pine nutes in a frying pan for 1 minute (stir around until golden brown).
- Using the same frying pan, sautee onion and chili in olive oil for 1 minute, then add paprika and cook for another minute on low heat.
- Slice meat with a little fat off the lamb loin bone. Dispose of any thick pieces of fat. Cut meat into chunks and grind in a food processor together with garlic and olives into mince.
- Combine lamb mince, pine nuts, sauteed onion and a pinch of salt unti well incorporated.
- Stuff zucchinis using your fingers, building just a little hill of mince over the top. Place stuffed zucchinis on a baking tray sprayed or brushed with olive oil. Bake in the 180C oven for 20 minutes.
- To make the Romesco-like sauce, pre-heat a frying pan to medium/high. Sautee onion and red peppers in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 2 minutes. Add zucchini and garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomato paste, vinegar and water, mix well and cook for 2 more minutes until soft. Take off the heat and transfer to a food processor, blender or a container to puree in. Puree until all ingredients are completely ground and the mix is fairly smooth.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Number of servings: 3
Serve with sauce and some extra olives on the side. Yum!
Do you ever make stuffed zucchinis or other vegetables? What’s your favourite stuffing?