Stuffed Zucchinis with egg-lemon sauce are one of these fussy dishes that are so worth the effort of making.Talking about fussy I mean taking the time to core the zucchinis and stuff them with the ground beef filling. This process does take some time. But other than that, this dish is really simple to make.
It's a proper, spring-summer comfort food since that's when zucchinis are in season. And it's also very similar to Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Egg & Lemon Sauce, which is its wintery alternative. I can't pick which one is best, wherever there is egg & lemon, I say count me in…
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The flavor of this dish is very light and appetizing. The sauce is a bit creamy but not too thick. Since it's thickened using just a tiny bit of flour, and egg and lemon to give a creamy velvety texture. The freshly squeezed lemon and fresh dill, really add to the lightness of this dish, which makes you want to eat more and more.
HOW TO MAKE STUFFED ZUCCHINI STEW
First of all, buy some good-quality zucchinis. For this dish, go for medium-sized crisp zucchinis, the light green variety. Their texture is much more tender and less dense than dark green zucchinis.
Then remove their tops and bottoms, and cut them in half to about 2,5-inch / 7 cm pieces. And using an apple corer, (it's almost impossible to do this with any other tool) you make a hole in the center, all the way through to the other side, and remove the inside flesh of the zucchinis, leaving a 0.4-inch / 1 cm thick outer layer.
And once you prepared the zucchinis, you prepare the ground beef filling which is made with a bit of olive oil, medium-grain rice, spring + red onion, and fresh herbs. Then stuff the zucchinis, place in a cooking pot close to each other, cover with water and simmer until they get nice and soft.
As for the sauce, you first make a roux (fat + flour base) by whisking together olive oil (in this case), along with flour in a saucepan. Heat this mixture over high heat and cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly, it will start to look sandy. Then start to pour the water from the pot you cooked the zucchinis in, into the roux. Then pour this mixture, slowly into the beaten eggs, while you whisk the eggs constantly. Add the lemon juice as well, and pour the sauce all over the zucchinis.
It's pretty simple really, there is only one thing to keep in mind, and that is to be careful not to curdle the eggs. To avoid this, incorporate the hot sauce very slowly, threadlike, into the eggs. Also, don't stop whisking them while you do this. This is done so the eggs reach the temperature of the sauce slowly. If let's say you add a splash of hot liquid straight into the eggs you wouldn't get a sauce, but scrambled eggs instead.
Greek Stuffed Zucchini Stew (in egg & lemon sauce)
For The Stuffed Zucchinis:
- 1.900 grams/ 4 lb + 3 oz or about 14 medium-sized light green zucchinis
- 600 grams / 1 lb + 5 oz lean ground beef
- 1 spring onion minced
- ½ small red onion minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2,5 tablespoons medium-grain rice
For The Egg & Lemon Sauce:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large lemon juiced + zested
- Cut off the tops and bottoms of the zucchinis. Rinse them well and then cut them in half about 2,5 inch / 7cm each piece.
- Using an apple corer, remove most of the insides of the zucchini. Creating 1 cm / 0.4 inch thick cylinders.
- Prepare the filling in a bowl by mixing together the ground beef, red onion, spring onion, parsley, dill, rice, and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the mixture with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Knead the mixture for 2 minutes.
- Start filling the zucchinis by pressing the ground beef mixture into the hole with your finger. Press on both openings to make sure there aren't any air gaps left, inside the zucchini.
- Place the stuffed zucchinis tightly together, inside a cooking pot or stockpot.
- Pour in enough water to cover, and heat over medium-high heat.
- Once the water starts to boil, skim off the foam that will form on the surface. Then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for about 1 hour.
- Once the water has reduced to almost half, turn of the heat.
- Start making the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the flour and olive oil to create a thick flour paste. Heat mixture over high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Then using a ladle, start adding spoonfuls of the water from the pot with the zucchinis, into the flour mixture. Keep whisking and adding spoonfuls, until you have incorporated at least ⅔ of the water.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs until slightly foamy. Take a spoonful of the sauce you've just made and very slowly (threadlike) pour it into the eggs while you whisk the eggs constantly. Keep doing this until all the sauce is into the eggs. Pour in the lemon juice + zest as well. Then transfer everything back to the pot with the zucchinis.NOTE: Place a wet sponge cloth under the bowl with the eggs so it will stay in place while you whisk the eggs.
- Shake the pot for the sauce to spread evenly. Turn heat to low, taste the sauce and add extra salt or pepper if needed. Cook for 2-3 minutes for the sauce to combine with the zucchinis.
- Remove from heat and ideally let the food stand for 30 minutes before serving. Then serve with a bit of extra fresh dill on top, freshly ground pepper and a few drops of lemon if you like.
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