Punjene tikvice

Adapted from LMU München. Serves 4-6. Step by step photos and video here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 500 g ground bison (sub for beef)
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 70 – 80 g rice (uncooked)
  • Salt, pepper, “Vegeta” seasoning, paprika
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • Potato slices for closing the zucchini (optional)
  • 150 mL white wine
  • 200 mL tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 150 g. Trappista cheese (or gouda)

Directions:

  1. Filling: Fry the 3/4 of the onion (minced carrot optional) in oil. Add the meat, then the wine, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the tomato puree, ketchup, 2 dL of water, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Zucchini: While the filling cooks, cut in half and scrape out the seeds from the zucchinis with a small spoon until you have a boat. Save the insides for later. Blanche the zucchini in salted water for 3 minutes each. While this is blanching, take the reserved zucchini innards, chop them fine, then add half of it to the meat sauce. 
  3. Salsa: Peel the tomatoes, chop it fine. Sauté it in olive oil and 1/4 of the onion and garlic. Add spices to taste. This “salsa” is finished after cooking 15-20 minutes.
  4. Roux: In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg and 2 tbsp. sour cream and some Vegeta seasoning.
  5. Layer the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Then place the zucchini on top. Fill each zucchini half-full with the meat and cap off with a thin slice of potato (optional). Pour 2-3 tbsp. of roux over each. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  6. Bake at 200 deg. C (392 deg. F) for 20-30 minutes, until a golden color is achieved.

There were many suggestions from the PhD student who shared this recipe that varied from the original recipe, like adding raw rice to the meat (like arroz con pollo), which we did do, along with diced bacon, which we did not. Their roux also involved heating 50 ml of oil, then adding flour spoonful by spoonful until a pudding consistency is achieved (~ 15 seconds), as well as a half a teaspoon of paprika, while the faux roux we did was much easier. The zucchini in the other recipe was cooked in a pot of boiling water, so that the water didn’t touch the inside filling, but sort of steam cooked it? Which was confusing, so baking it seemed much more straightforward.

Serbian stuffed zucchini is not anything I’ve had the privilege to try before, but it looked like all ingredients I would be into. We used one big red onion instead of two small white onions because it was on sale, and is healthier, but then I forgot to reserve some for the tomato sauce. We used ground bison instead of beef, Roasted Chicken Base instead of Vegeta, vinho verde instead of white wine, did not have tomato puree, and used leftover cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese instead of Trappista cheese. Phew! We barely finished it in time before 8pm Pub Trivia virtual, and I blame the line at Hannaford market. Not as much a hit as the chili and soup this week, but still excellent.

~Jessica

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