The Iraqi people love stuffed foods. My Iraqi friend served these to us but in a little different shape. She took the small zucchinis and cut them in half in the middle- keeping a cylinder- and scooped out the center- making each like a little vessel. I thought that was a little too labor-intensive and decided to just cut them lengthwise.
After the meat was browned, the center pulp was then chopped up and sprinkled on top of the meat mixture.
6-8 small-medium zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise and hollowed out
1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 - 3/4 tsp seasoned salt (I used Adobo with Cumin by Goya)
pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1/2 tsp cumin *
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup water (more or less)
paprika for garnish
- Prepare the zucchini; reserve the inside that has been removed. Lay down the zucchini in a baking dish face-up like a boat. Salt and lightly pepper the inside of the zucchini.
- Sauté the meat, onion and garlic. Drain off the fat and then add the seasonings, paste and water. Put the meat mixture in the hollowed out parts of the zucchini.
- Cut the reserved zucchini into chunks and toss with about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Spoon the zucchini chunks over top of the meat.
- Sprinkle zucchini again with seasoned salt lightly, followed by paprika over top of everything. (May also use a Arabic Seven Spice mix in the meat as well as sprinkling on top of the zucchini for a more authentic flavor.)
- Bake for approximately 1 hour at 400 degrees covered or until the fork pierces the zucchini easily. Remove cover/foil and bake for about 10-15 more minutes to dry up any excess juice.
- Serve over rice or with flat bread.
*Note- I also used about 2 Tbsp of sofrito mixture (a Hispanic blend of onion, green pepper, garlic, and various herbs like cilantro, culantro, parsley, oregano, cumin- all ground up together) in with the meat and seasonings as it was prepared. See my blog soon for a posting on how to make your own sofrito- great for flavoring/seasoning all types of dishes.