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Lebanese Stuffed Squash

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 2 hrs

Servings: 6

A hearty stuffed squash filled with Lebanese spiced beef and rice. The filling absorbs the flavors of the delicious roasted tomato stock that it simmers in.

Ingredients:

  • 10 firm roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large white onion, cut into large chunks
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 stem fresh marjoram, leaves removed and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 6 yellow squash
  • 1/2 jasmati (or jasmine) rice
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the prepared tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a 9x13 pan and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes, stirring twice during cooking time. You will see some darkened edges and a lot of juice that has come out of the tomatoes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sauté the diced red onion in the tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is softened.
While the tomatoes cool, slice the tapered end off the squash and use a zucchini corer to core out the insides leaving a semi-thin wall of squash inside.
Prepare the filling by combining the ground beef, uncooked rice, sautéed red onion, salt/pepper, granulated garlic, basil, cloves and mozzarella. Mix together until thoroughly blended.
Begin stuffing the meat mixture into the squash. Don't pack it too tight or it will crack the squash as the rice expands. Leave the filling about ¼" short of the top. Repeat until all the squash are filled. Save the remaining meat filling.
Use a blender, immersion or stand, to puree the tomato mixture and place it into a medium pot, just large enough to hold all of the sauce and squash. You don't want your pot too big or your sauce will be too watered down when covering the squash in a later step.
Bring the tomato puree to a simmer and add in the red wine, fresh marjoram, and salt/pepper. Let this simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt/pepper if desired.
Add the filled squash to the pot and add enough water to just cover the squash. This will turn the puree into a lovely tomato stock. When the liquid begins to simmer again, begin rolling tiny meatballs out of the remaining beef filling and drop them into the pot. This will flavor and thicken the
stock. Season with a pinch or two of red pepper flakes according to taste. Allow the pot to simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring gently on occasion.
Serve with a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan and cracked black pepper.

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