Stuffed Zucchini (Abobrinha Recheada)
5 medium zucchinis
FOR THE FILLING
14 oz (400 g) very lean ground beef
1 cup rice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
juice of 1 large lemon
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Syrian pepper
Mix all ingredients together very well, kneading like you do with a bread, and put it to settle over a sieve into the fridge, at least 1 hour before filling the zucchinis.
Meanwhile, prepare the zucchinis. Wash them well, cut them in half and carefully make a whole, scooping off the pulp (don’t throw it away, it will be used to make the sauce), but not completely deep, so the filling do not get out when it is cooking, and preserving the external part, as a bag to be filled with the meat.
Fill the zucchinis with the meat and rice and set aside, while prepare the sauce.
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
all the zucchinis pulp removed from the fruits, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (24 oz) jar tomato sauce, or homemade
24 oz water
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper, or to taste
salt to taste
1 sachet sazón (with cilantro and achiote)
In a saucepan, heat olive oil and cook the onion, garlic, and zucchini pulp until soft, around 3 minutes. Add cumin, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir in tomato sauce and water, and let boil. Add sazón and cook for 5 minutes. Add filled zucchinis, and carefully toss the sauce over the zucchinis. Cover the pan and let simmering for 10 minutes, in reduced heat. Test the zucchinis with a fork, to see if they are soft. The smell is unbelievable!
Serve with white rice and salad.