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Cook the Book

Cook the Book: Stuffed Baby Eggplants and Zucchini in Pomegranate Sauce

Cook the Book: Stuffed Baby Eggplants and Zucchini in Pomegranate Sauce

[Photographs: Eilon Paz]

Hearty eating and summery temperatures don't always go hand in hand, but in Israel square meals during warm weather are a given. Janna Gur's The Book of New Israeli Food has many dinner-worthy recipes that are geared towards Israel's Mediterranean climate and flavors.

Her Stuffed Baby Eggplants and Zucchini in Pomegranate Sauce is the kind of meaty main that you can get into even when the weather isn't cooking-cooperative. Eggplants and zucchini (or all zucchini later in the summer) are hollowed out, stuffed with a mix of ground beef and rice, seared on all sides, and then left to simmer on a bed on tomatoes and onions swimming in a fantastically tart lemon-pomegranate sauce.

The rice and beef cook inside the zucchini and eggplant shells and pomegranate gravy seeps into everything, adding a welcome hit of refreshing acid. The recipe serves ten but before you halve it for a smaller crowd you should know that these are even better the next day enjoyed at room temperature for a cool summer lunch.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Book of New Israeli Food to give away this week.

Reprinted with permission from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2007. Published by Schocken Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

Cook the Book: Stuffed Baby Eggplants and Zucchini in Pomegranate Sauce

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 10
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:5 hours, 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 zucchini
  • 10 baby eggplants
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  •  
  • The Stuffing:
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 10 1/2 ounces beef, ground finely
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  •  
  • The Sauce:
  • Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice or 1/2 cup pomegranate concentrate diluted in water, enough to cover the contents
  • 1/3-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Cut off the stalks of the zucchini and scoop out the flesh using a corer.

  2. 2

    Cut off the stalks of the eggplants, but leave the green leaves untouched—they will keep the eggplant from falling apart while the flesh is being removed. Scoop out the flesh using a melon baller or a tablespoon, and only then take off the green leaves.

  3. 3

    Mix the ingredients for the stuffing. Stuff the vegetables to three-quarters their capacity and fry until golden.

  4. 4

    Line a wide, flat saucepan with the onion and tomato slices. Arrange the stuffed vegetables on top and pour 1/4 cup oil into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover the contents with the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice (or the diluted pomegranate concentrate), and add the lemon juice.

  5. 5

    Bring to a boil and cook covered over the lowest heat for about 5 hours, until the contents are dark brown and there is a small amount of thick sauce remaining on the bottom of the saucepan.

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