Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Hello all and apologies for the brief break in posts- I have been experimenting in the Wilkins house. As this one was requested again, and it passes my healthy dinner standards, it definitely makes the cut to appear here!
It uses a few simple ingredients and uses up leftover roast chicken. Depending on whether you have this as a main or a side, it will serve 2-4. 

To start: turn the oven on to 190 degrees, and find 4 zucchinis.
 Start by chopping the ends off.
Slice the zucchinis evenly down the middle, longways. 
 Take a spoon and scoop out the middle of all of the zucchini halves. Leave somewhere between half a centimetre to a centimetre of flesh and skin on each side.
You might need to dig in a little more at the end!
All scooped out. Make sure you keep the flesh! You'll need this for the filling (you can dice the zucchini flesh up too).
Take a nice big baking tray, and spread a little olive oil around the base. 
Place the scooped out zucchinis in the base, and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Now to make the filling while the bases are starting to soften in the oven. Take a leek, and slice it in half. If you don't have a leek, a large onion would also work (or you can switch it up with some other veges)
Then slice it all up nice and fine
You will also need to put 1/3 of a cup of rice on, to mix into the stuffing. Rice usually only takes about 10 minutes to cook in a big pot of boiling water (less than the time your zucchinis are in the oven). It also tastes really good with some pearl barley as a substitute.
 Now to start the leek cooking, oven a medium heat, place a little olive oil and a small knob of butter into a pan.
Once it's melted, toss in your leek to start cooking.
Let it saute for about 5 minutes.
When the leek is starting to get soft, throw in the diced up zucchini and stir it around.
 (Don't forget to take your rice off when it's cooked!)
Take 2 cloves of garlic, dice these up nice and fine, and throw into the mix 
Take a tin of tomatoes, and stir it into your mix too. 
After another few minutes, take your leftover chicken. We had about 150 grams of leftover roast chicken. You could also throw a chicken breast into the oven if you didn't have any leftover chicken, or fry up smaller pieces.
Just make sure you dice it up, and stir it into your pan.
Time for the rice to go in.
 And here is some lovely mint from the garden which will go very nicely in bringing some freshness to the dish.
Pick some leaves, tear them up and throw them in (along with some salt and pepper, and half a teaspoon of cumin for some warmth)
After 25 minutes of baking, the bases are looking nice and soft.
 Time to spoon the filling in!
Carefully spoon the mixture into the cavity.
 Until they're all filled up and overflowing like little sinking boats.
Grate some parmesan cheese over the top, and pop them in the oven for another 20-30 minutes, or until they are a little bit crispy on top, and the zucchini on the bottom is really tender.
 Here they are after 30 minutes in the oven.
Dinner is served, with some extra parmesan if you like. 

Stuffed Zucchinis

4 medium sized zucchinis (courgettes)
1 leek
1 400g tin diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup white rice (cooked makes about a cup)
150g leftover roast chicken, diced (or roast up one breast and dice finely)
grated parmesan cheese
olive oil
knob butter
handful of fresh mint
1/2 tsp cumin

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees c. 
2. Slice zucchinis in half longways. Scoop flesh out of the middle with a spoon to create little boats (keep the flesh!). Make sure you don't cut through the skin of the zucchinis, they should be about 1/2-1cm thick all the way around.
3. Arrange in a large baking tray with a little olive oil (skin downwards), and bake for 25 minutes.
4.To make the filling, saute leek in a frypan with a little olive oil and knob of butter over a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until starting to soften. Dice up the remaining zucchini flesh and garlic, and add to the leeks. Let this cook for a further 5 minutes.
6. Add tin of tomatoes, diced chicken, rice, a good grate of parmesan cheese, a little salt, pepper and cumin. Mix until combined and let it simmer on low until time to fill the zucchini bases. 
7. Just before you take this off the stove, tear up a handful of fresh mint leaves and stir through the filling.
8. After the zucchini bases have been baking for 25 minutes, take them out of the oven, spoon the filling into the cavity (it's ok if they are overflowing), grate some more parmesan cheese on top, and place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly crispy, and the bases are soft.

Enjoy. Tasty healthy dinner.

You can also change some of the flavours of the stuffing too! One of my favourites is to use cooked barley instead of the rice, and leftover lamb instead of the chicken. 

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