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Stuffed Courgettes, Aubergines and Peppers

2020-11-19
  • Servings : 2 or 3

There are a variety of vegetables that can be stuffed with either minced meat or a mix of rice and minced meat; also with rice and herbs in the vegan/vegetarian version.

In Lebanon the vegetables used are courgettes, aubergines, sweet peppers, cabbage leaves, vine leaves, Swiss chard leaves, tomatoes and potatoes.

The amount of meat and rice to use in the stuffing is mainly to your liking. Personally, I like to use more meat and less rice whereas some people might like the contrary.

For the courgettes, you have to use the Mediterranean variety which are short and gray green (check photo). The longer and darker green courgettes, such as zucchini, are not advisable as they get mushy.

And, for both the courgettes and the baby aubergines, you need a corer. In Lebanon they use a special corer (see photo). You may find it in the Middle Eastern stores. Otherwise, you can use the apple corer.

NB: to make this dish richer, you can add some lamb chops that are slightly fried then placed under the stuffed vegetables and cooked together.

Ingredients

  • 10 small courgettes or aubergines (or a mix of both) and 2 peppers
  • 250g of minced lamb or beef
  • Half cup of basic white rice, washed and drained
  • 1 tsp of tomato purée, 1 tsp of dried mint, 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt (in the stuffing)
  • Also add to the stuffing 1/2 tsp of each of the following spices: allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg and turmeric
  • 400g of peeled tinned tomatoes + 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 onion and 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Organic chicken stock cube, diluted in water
  • 2 or 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • 2 tbsp of dried mint
  • Salt & pepper for the tomato sauce

Method

Step 1

After washing the vegetables, start by neatly trimming off their tops (keep the tops of the peppers). Core the courgettes and the aubergines (be careful not to poke) until they are hollowed enough to contain the stuffing. As for the peppers, all you have to do is to remove their seeds and their white flesh. When all are done, rinse the vegetables and put them aside.

Step 2

Put the minced meat, the drained rice and all the ingredients meant for the stuffing in a bowl and mix well to combine. If the stuffing obtained is a bit stiff, add a drizzle of olive oil or tomato juice. Stuff all the vegetables only at 3/4 of their capacity (to allow the rice to expand). If you still have some stuffing available at the end, stuff one more pepper or a tomato; or make some meatballs which will added to the accompanying tomato sauce.

Step 3

Place all the stuffed vegetables in a pot then cover with the mixture made with tinned tomatoes (squashed), the tomato paste, the chicken stock, the chopped onion and garlic, the squeeze of lemon, the olive oil and the mint. Season with salt and pepper. This tomato sauce must just cover the vegetables.

Step 4

Place the pot with the stuffed courgettes, aubergines and peppers on a high heat until it starts boiling. When it does, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the tomato sauce has thickened.

Step 5

Serve with a green salad and/or plain yogurt.

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