The historical past of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) household is surprisingly complicated, as I not too long ago discovered. They’re one of many first cultivated meals; there’s indication they have been domesticated way back to round 15,000 years in the past. The Cucurbitaceae household is damaged into 5 most important teams, all vital to people for various causes:
1) the Lagenaria genus, indigenous to Africa, contains bottle gourds (aka calabash), used as a container and musical instrument.
2) the Citrullus genus, additionally from Africa, contains watermelon and egusi (whose seeds stay an vital meals in Africa in the present day).
3) the Cucumis genus, is of unknown origin (however probably the Center East) and contains cucumbers, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon.
4) Luffa is a genus of fibrous gourds, grown in Asia and eaten when immature, or matured and dried on the vine to be used as physique scrubs (that is the place the phrase “loofa” comes from).
5) and eventually, the Cucurbita genus encompasses in the present day’s topic – pumpkins and squash.
As you most likely know, the winter squashes we all know in the present day – pumpkins, acorn, butternut, and the like – have been first domesticated within the New World, and are comparatively new additions to different cuisines. However whenever you search for the origins of different squashes, like zucchini, the outcomes aren’t so clear. As I dug via recipes for Kousa Mahshi, many would describe this dish as an historical favourite, as if this scrumptious stuffed squash was loved in Constantinople a thousand years in the past.
In reality, zucchini (and all summer season squashes) are merely immature cultivars of the Cucurbita genus, eaten whereas the rind continues to be edible. Zucchini specifically was first developed in Northern Italy, and never launched to the remainder of the world till the Thirties – a far cry from the Byzantine Empire!
So within the face of those details, it’s secure to say that Kousa Mahshi is a comparatively new invention, probably a reinvention of the older Sarma/Dolma (stuffed grape leaves) dish widespread within the Mediterranean, Balkans, and Persian Gulf.
Kousa Mahshi – Stuffed Squash (Gluten-free, Excellent Well being Weight-reduction plan)
10 zucchini, marrow squash, or yellow squash, quick and fats most well-liked (about 5 lbs)
1/2 lb floor lamb or beef
1 1/2 cups arborio or different risotto rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt, extra to style
1/2 tsp black pepper, extra to style
1/4 tsp floor allspice
1/4 tsp floor cinnamon
1/4 tsp floor coriander
2 pinches floor cloves
2 tsp contemporary chopped parsley
1 tsp contemporary chopped mint (about 3 leaves)
1 small (15oz) can tomato puree
~ 4 cups rooster inventory
1 tbsp olive oil
yogurt to serve
1. Slice the tops from the zucchini; utilizing an apple corer, zucchini corer (manakra), or sharp-tipped vegetable peeler, core the zucchini with 1/4” of flesh on both sides, and leaving about 1/2” of flesh on the backside. Use the cored zucchini flesh in different dishes, reminiscent of in omelettes, potato pancakes, or empanadas.
2. In a big mixing bowl, mix the lamb, rice, garlic, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, parsley, and mint; combine till uniform. Utilizing your fingers, scoop the filling into the zucchini and frivolously pack, leaving about ½” of house on the high for the rice to develop. Line the underside of a wide-bottom stockpot with the zucchini, in layers as wanted, firmly packed in order that the zucchinis don’t transfer whereas cooking.
3. Pour the tomato puree into the stockpot, then add sufficient rooster inventory to simply cowl the zucchinis. Deliver to a simmer over excessive warmth, then cowl and cut back warmth to low. Simmer till the meat is cooked via and the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Utilizing tongs, gently switch the zucchinis to a rimmed baking sheet; cowl with tin foil to maintain heat. Enhance the stovetop warmth to excessive, and cut back the tomato sauce till thick and splattering, about 10 minutes, stirring usually to forestall scorching (and splattering). Stir the olive oil into the sauce, then season with salt and pepper to style.
4. Ladle the tomato sauce over the zucchini, then serve with yogurt.
Observe: Within the 12 months main as much as my new cookbook’s launch, I might be repeatedly releasing these recipes to 1) keep a seamless dialog with my readership and a pair of) give guests to this web site a chance to check and supply suggestions earlier than enhancing. For extra data on this new method, learn my submit right here.