Stuffed Round Zucchini Recipe

Courgettes Rondes Farcies

[Stuffed Round Zucchini]

We buy most of our fruits and vegetables at our favorite little fruit stand in the rue des Abbesses, where the staff is friendly, greets us with big smiles, gets stuff for us from the back – often including a little freebie – and is always happy to discuss what’s the best seasonal choice and how to prepare it.

But sometimes it’s just more convenient to go to the Champion grocery store if it’s on my way, and I have to admit the produce aisle there is really pretty decent. Sometimes the veggies look a little sad and wilted (especially the eggplant, for some reason) in which case I just skip that particular variety, but most of the time the quality is fine. Especially in the winter, summer produce being more delicate to handle. I can also tell they really try to offer more than the average supermarket selection, and occasionally have exotic fruits or unusual vegetables. Unfortunately, I’m afraid only a few of us customers seem to go for the new stuff : more often that not the effort is short-lived, and the particular new produce item is nowhere to be found a week later.

So last week, when I saw that they sold little ball-shaped zucchini, I instantly decided to get a few, because anything round and small and cute gets my enthusiastic vote, and also as a measure of encouragement for the good Champion guys who make the produce selection. And of course, what can you do with little round zucchini, if not stuff them with goodies? I had made a similar dish a few months ago, filling the shells with quinoa, ricotta and pinenuts, and had enjoyed the process as much as the result. I decided to do something different this time, a non-vegetarian version that would use Jackie‘s wonderful red onion confit.

This was really great (not to mention easy-peasy to make) : the zucchini look so pretty, and they are deliciously tasty with the meat and onion filling – which owes a lot to Jackie’s confit. Maxence enjoyed it particularly, and said that this was the best thing I had done lately. (He’s not quite the soup-fan that I have become, so I’m afraid the poor darling has been feeling a little deprived…) As often with dishes that are a blend of flavors, make sure you have leftovers, as this is even better the next day.

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Courgettes Rondes Farcies

– 12 round zucchini
– 450 g (1 pound) lean ground beef
– 10 Tbsp onion confit
– 2 cloves of garlic
– olive oil
– herbes de Provence (or the dried herbs of your liking)
– salt, pepper

(Serves 4.)

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Wash and dry the zucchini. Using a paring knife, cut a little hat off the top of each, and carve the inside using a melon baller or a small sharp-edged spoon, reserving the flesh. Put the zucchini shells and hats in a greased or non-stick gratin dish, pour a little olive oil all over, sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. Put in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked al dente : you want the shells to be tender, but still hold their shape.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic clove. Heat up a little olive oil in a large skillet, and put the garlic in for a couple of minutes, until nicely fragrant. Add the reserved zucchini flesh, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, until tender. The flesh will render a lot of water, which you want to pour out regularly, as you check on the cooking. Put the cooked zucchini flesh in a sieve over a bowl, and leave it there to drain.

By then the zucchini shells should be ready. Take them out of the oven, and put them upside down on a plate lined with paper towel. Brown the meat, sprinkled with salt and pepper, in the same skillet.

Empty out the zucchini water from the bowl (throw it out or keep it in the fridge to use in a soup), and put the zucchini flesh in the bowl, along with the ground meat and the onion confit. Mix thoroughly with a fork.

Put the shells back in the gratin dish, spoon in the meat mixture, distributing it evenly, and top each zucchini with its little hat. Up to this point, the recipe can be prepared earlier in the day or the day before.

Return into the hot oven for about 20 minutes, until heated through, and serve three stuffed zucchini to each guest, on a bed of greens.

Chez Maher
63 rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris
01 46 06 33 78

63 bd de Rochechouart
75009 Paris
01 45 26 83 37

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  • Jennifer

    Time for a silly question–are the hollowed out zucchinis really just for show, or are they edible with those skins on them? When you say scoop out the flesh, does that mean that all that is really left is the zucchini “rind”? Does that taste good? Sorry, I’m not up on my zucchini.

  • Jay Francis

    Your mention of eggplants. I thought I might share my method of baking them. The farmer’s market near my house offers a big bucket of eggplants for $1 when they are about to start going bad. For me this is good news. Not very much money for very ripe eggplants. I peel them and then cut them into 1 centimeter slices. I sprinkle only the smallest amount of olive oil on them and also sea salt and herbs de provence. Now for the secret. Do you have any of the Silpat silicone non-stick sheets? I place my eggplants on the Silpat sheets. Using my Silpat sheets allows me to get by with very little oil. I bake them at 175 C for 45 minutes. The centers are soft and creamy and the outsides are slightly dry and crisp. You can use them like potato chips to dip into cream dips.

  • clotilde

    Jennifer – I’ve never met a question that was silly, and they’re all very welcome! The zucchini shells are totally and absolutely edible! And you carve them until about 4 mm of flesh remains on the skin, so the shells won’t tear when you stuff them…

    Jay – Thanks a lot for the eggplant tip, it’s very appealing! Next time I see some, all sorry-looking and abandonned at the grocery store, I’ll think about your advice and rescue them! :)

  • Jackie

    Yum! And I am so flattered to have my humble confit used in a recipe by the Clotilde — and a zucchini recipe, no less!

  • Angela

    This looks so yummy Clotilde! I’ve never seen round zucchini before, they’re very cute :)

  • clotilde

    Jackie – Not sure what _humble_ confit you’re referring to, the jar you gave me was full of the _glorious_ one! ;)

    Angela – I do find them very cute (and I’m not surprised you’d think so too!), and make for a pretty presentation!

  • Meg

    I LOVE courgettes rondes!! I bought them and made a dish similar to this (but with sausage and some bread crumbs) one time when I was in Provence. . . and can never find them here. Philippe smuggled some seeds back from France last week (shh, don’t tell), among them. . . cavaillon melons and courgettes rondes! We hope they’ll grow the Hudson Valley. . .

  • clotilde

    Meg – I hope they do too! Stuffing regular long zucchini just isn’t the same, is it? :)

  • jenny

    your stuffed zucchini looks delicious. they are having some in the Whole Food store in Bay Area, CA. I was wondering how do you get onion confit? :)

  • clotilde

    Jenny – Oooh which Whole Foods store? The one in Cupertino? That was my favorite… :) The onion confit was a gift from Jackie, a fellow blogger, who posted the recipe here : . In France, you can also occasionally find it in gourmet stores, in the condiment aisle. But it’s not as good as Jackie’s! :) Maybe Trader Joe’s carries something similar?

  • Sophie

    As a person with a greater part French than American, I have freshly arrived from Paris to Boston to set up shop. Sadly, Whole Foods store in Cambridge MA did not carry onion confit (my visit however did provide an opportunity to enlighten the Whole Foods staff about the existence of this delicious ingredient). Suffice to say fig and onion marinade had to step in as an inferior, but to be fair adequate, ingredient. Additionally, the funky little round courgettes were nowhere in sight. As a result, capsicums were substituted – definitely not as fun but turned out tout simplement délicieux all the same! Merci Clotilde!

  • andrea

    Hi Clotilde — it’s me again — and again about the dead link to Jackie — this time the onion confit… can’t find it now that The Daily Bread is defunct… can you post it? or do you know where I can find it? (Needless to say, I’ve already searched the new blog you told me about — and google, of course — which keeps sending me to references to dead links!

  • andrea

    please ignore my last post — I’ve found The Daily Bread posts through internet archive’s wayback machine… for anyone else looking…

  • Isabelle

    I added ground cinnamon, pine nuts and raisins to the beef, it has been quite a success I must say !

  • Susan

    Those look like baby gem squash – they are very nice, but mature gems are even more delicious (although you can’t eat the skin then)

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