Friday, April 22, 2011

I haven’t learned many traditional Turkish recipes yet, and I realized one of the reasons why is that many dishes take time - often lots of time - to prepare.

Not that I don’t have plenty of time on my hands and often spend it in the kitchen.

Take for example, kabak dolmasi (stuffed squash) requires the time-consuming process of hollowing out each squash, making the filling, stuffing the squash and then cooking them.

The other day I finally decided to give the recipe a go at home, especially when I decided to use these cute, spherical squashes I often see at the pazar.
I treated these squashes almost as if I were hollowing out a pumpkin for Halloween. Take a paring knife and cut around the stem, remove stem/lid and then use a spoon to remove most of the insides so you create a vessel of sorts for the filling. This process takes time.

The traditional Turkish way to make this dolma is to use the pale green kabak that looks similar to a zucchini. And of course, you could substitute the dark-green zucchinis you usually find in North America, Italy, Germany, etc.

Although this dish does take time to prepare, it is delicious. I just told hubby don’t expect to have it too often for dinner.

Afiyet olsun!
Kabak Dolmasi: Stuffed Squash
Adapted from “A Taste of Turkish Cuisine” by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman

6-8          round                 kabak (or about 10 small-medium zucchini)
1         lb.         (500 g.)      ground beef
1         ea.                        large onion, diced small
6         ea.                        garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼         c.         (50 g.) long-grain rice, uncooked
2 T. fresh parsley or dill, finely chopped                
2 T. tomato paste
To Taste salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 ea. medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
As needed fresh yogurt

1. If using zucchini, cut each one in half and scoop out most of the inside, leaving a ¼-inch shell. If using the round squash, core out as described above.
2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, onion, garlic, rice, herbs, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Mix well and knead with your hands (as if you were making meatloaf). Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes so the flavors can mingle.
3. Stuff the squash with the meat mixture.
4. Place the squash in a large saucepan or stockpot. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the squash and drizzle each one with a little olive oil.
5. Add about 1 to 1 ½ cups (240-355 ml.) of water to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and then let simmer, covered with a lid, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. You want the squash to be tender but not falling apart. Remove from the heat and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
6. Garnish each serving with fresh yogurt.

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Anonymous said...

This looks yummy and I love your patter!