You may expect stuffed zucchini flowers to be filled with a delicate mixture of cheese, then dipped in a tempura batter and fried for a crisp finish. This Greek recipe is a little different, featuring beef mince and rice, and flowers that are baked in a little tomato puree.
- 12 zucchini flowers
- 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil, plus extra for baking
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1½ kg minced beef
- black pepper
- 1 cube chicken stock
- handful mint, chopped
- handful dill, chopped
- handful basil, chopped
- ¾ can tomato puree (or ½ kilo fresh tomatoes), plus extra for baking
- 1 cup arborio or medium-grain rice
- 12 toothpicks
- grated parmesan (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Clean the flowers and remove stamen.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onion until soft. Add the beef mince and brown. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble the stock cube into the mixture and add chopped herbs, tomato puree and rice and stir thoroughly for 5 minutes.
Holding each flower upright, place a spoonful of the meat mixture into the centre and fold the petals over to enclose the filling. Push a toothpick through the petals to hold in place.
Preheat oven to 150°C. Spread the stuffed zucchini over a lightly oiled baking tray and sprinkle with a little tomato puree mixed with oil and salt. (A sprinkling of parmesan is optional). Bake for 35-45 minutes.
Any leftover meat mixture can be used to stuff whole capsicums, tomatoes or zucchini, which can be baked whole in the oven. Scoop out the flesh from zucchini or tomatoes and mix the pulp in with the beef and rice. Bake in oven for 60-90 minutes.