Stuffed zucchini – Moussaka style

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Stuffed zucchini – Moussaka style

A fusion dish where lamb and garden fresh zucchini come togheter to form individual stuffers reminiscent of Greek moussaka.
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • Saute pan
  • Baking pan
  • Whisk

Ingredients

Ingredients for the bechamel

  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk warm
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour unbleached, all-purpose
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the zucchini

  • 4 zucchini round or regular, large
  • 1 lb lamb and pork ground and mixed
  • 1 carrot small, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk small, finely diced
  • 1 onion small, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 glass of dry white wine 4 oz
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese aged, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, cumin each
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

Steps for the bechamel

  • Gather your ingredients.
    Bechamel ingredients.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour; incorporate the flour into the melted butter and toast them for a couple of minutes.
    Flour and butter mixture in a sauce pan while toasting.
  • Start addin the milk VERY slowly to avoid lumps from forming and whisk continuously until incorporated.
  • Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and taste; keep stirring until the liquid thickens and forms a sauce (it should coat the back of a spoon); this quantity yealds about 1 cup; cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
    Bechamel sauce in a terracotta bowl.

Steps for the stuffers

  • Gather your ingredients.
    Vegetables, spices and meats displayed on a wire rack.
  • Finely dice the carrot, onion and celery; chop the garlic; place all the ingredients in a preheated skillet with the olive oil and cook until tender.
    Vegetables sauteed.
  • Meanwhile, cut the tops of the zucchini (otherwise cut in half lenghwise if using the long variety) and scoop the flesh, leaving less than 1/4 inch edge; set the tops aside; chop the flesh and add it to the veggies.
    Round zucchini on a cutting board, tops removed, insides scored and flesh removed.
  • Add the meat and cook until browned, stirring frequently; add the white wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
    Wine added to the sauce.
  • Add the spices along with salt and pepper to taste; add half of them and then taste, adjust accordingly; add the bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
    Spiced added to the meat sauce along with the bay leaf.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 375 degrees; sprinkle the zucchini with salt; shred the cheese.
    Round zucchini hollowed and sprinkled with salt, inside a baking pan.
  • Once the liquid has been reduced by half, remove the meat from the heat and fill the zucchini with a blend of meat mixture and cheese.
    Stuffed zucchini
  • Top each zucchini with 2 tablespoons of bechamel and additional cheese; place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes; broil for 2 minutes for additional color; remove from the oven and let cool a bit before enjoying.
    Round zucchini filled and topped with bechamel and cheese, ready to go into the oven.

Notes

This dish was inspired by my Mom, Bruna, who made it often, especially in the summer, when fresh zucchini were available. She would make this moussaka with zucchini, instead of eggplants and would use ground beef, instead of lamb and pork, as I did. 
I just wanted to give it a Greek flare, maintaining some of the ingredients from my childhood recipe.
If you have any sauce left, you can repurpose it by adding your favorite tomato sauce and letting it simmer for about 30 minutes, and you will have a very unique pasta sauce.
For this recipe, feel free to substitute the meat, and also you might need to use regular, long zucchini, instead of round. I was lucky enough to be able to grow them this year and so: here they are!
Round zucchini, yellow and green, just harvested from the garden.
Author: Rebecca
Calories: 325kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: Easy, Ethnic, Fusion cuisine, Meat, Stuffed vegetables, Summer, Vegetable

Nutrition

Serving: 354g | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Fiber: 3g

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