Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Kousa (Stuffed Zucchini)

Kousa (Stuffed Zucchini)

When I would come home from college, I would always stop by my grandparents house to raid the fridge for leftovers or Nana’s famous hummus. In the summers, I would sometimes run over to their house, have a quick lunchtime meal, watch tv with my Nana, then run home.

When I came back from college one summer, I wanted to learn some easy recipes that I could take back to school with me. I had just started living in an apartment on my own, and up until that point, did not cook too much for myself. So, Nana showed me how to make kousa. Just easing into recipe writing, my notes were terrible. I pretty much had written the list of ingredients and a special note to make sure to poke holes in the zucchini to allow the sauce to seep in and cook the rice through. A bit more experienced in cooking now than in my college years, I was able to recreate the recipe and hopefully to my Nana’s liking.

I did make one modification to the recipe that I think should be noted (and maybe used as an alternative to my recipe below). Instead of using tomato sauce for the sauce, Nana used V8.

Kousa (Stuffed Zucchini)

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Arabic, Middle Eastern
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • 1/2 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice
  • 3/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp bahar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 10 oz tomato sauce

Instructions

Making the Filling

  • Shred a small yellow onion or 1/4 of a large onion in a food processor or using a food grater
  • Rinse rice
  • Add all stuffing ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined
  • Prepare the zucchini. Cut the top and bottom of the zucchini evenly to allow the zucchini to stand in the pot. Cut the zucchini in half, do not cut vertically, but cut horizontally to allow you to core the zucchini. Core the zucchini, but do not go all the way through to the bottom. You want to leave the bottom of the zucchini to contain the stuffing. Poke small holes in the zucchini to allow broth the help cook the stuffing
  • Fill the zucchini 3/4 of the way to the top with the ground beef mixture.
  • Sprinkle olive oil at the bottom of a deep pot. Place stuffed zucchini upright with stuffing on top

Cooking the Stuffed Zucchini

  • Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, lemon juice and dash of salt and pepper to the pot. Try to avoid getting broth inside the zucchini
  • Bring pot to a boil. Once boiling, put lid on pot and lower to a simmer for 30 minutes. The dish is ready once meat and rice are cooked through
My original recipe circa 2013… Hoping that the one above is a bit easier to follow! 🙂



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