This is a guest post from Reese Darragh of The New Art Of Baking. A Malaysian living in the United States, not to mention a huge fan of Aunt Lily’s blog.
My dad put in 4 zucchini plants in the garden for me this year after I started dabbling in homemade zucchini relish last summer. The relish came out so good that dad thought I will be delighted to have more zucchini in the garden for more relish this year. The problem with zucchini is when you have a bumper crop. Boy do they grow!
After making what seems to be like 20lbs of zucchini relish last week, enough is enough. The next thing to do is to use them for dinner. Something I have never tried is making stuffed zucchini, the American way. See, my all American family have different idea compared to us, Malaysian, when it comes to stuffing vegetables. They don’t subscribe to Yong Tau Foo, so trying to stuff the zucchini with fish paste is strictly out of the question. I tried last year with eggplants from our garden and ended up eating all of them on my own.
It hit me yesterday to come up with an east meets west style of stuffing zucchini. I know for a fact that they love American Chinese food, pork fried rice in particular. Plus I really do not like tomato sauce with zucchini, like most recipe I found in cookbooks have suggested. So, why not make something entirely my own. The verdict: Everyone loves it! They went gaga over the fresh zucchini, pork fried rice and cheese combo. If your zucchini plant goes crazy on you this year like mine, give this recipe a try.
East Meets West Zucchini with Pork and Rice Stuffing
3 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise, cored
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks scallion, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
A handful of raisins or dried cranberries
2 cups cooked rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 boneless pork chops, cut into 1/4 inch cube
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
Pinch of baking soda (to tenderize the pork)
Dash of pepper
Step 1: Prepare all the ingredients. Cook the rice and prepare all vegetables except for zucchini. Combine pork with soy sauce, cooking wine, baking soda and pepper. Cover and leave to marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.
Step 2: In a pan, heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in marinated pork. Cook till pork is done. Dish out into a bowl using slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the remainder oil in the pan.
Step 4: Once vegetable has softened, add in the pork. Stir to combine well. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, add sautéed vegetable and pork mix to 2 cups of cooked rice. Stir well to combine and set aside. The rice stuffing will taste just like pork fried rice at this point, minus the dark soy sauce, of course.
Step 5: Prepare the zucchini. Sliced zucchini lengthwise and remove seeds bed. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the zucchini.
Step 6: In the same pan used earlier, sauté the zucchini till softened slightly, 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Dish out the zucchini. Drain off all liquid. Set aside.
Step 7: Preheat a grill to 450F. Brush the zucchini shell with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill zucchini, cut side down, till it has a nice charred mark and shell is softened slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove zucchini onto a baking sheet lined with foil.
Step 8: Divide the cooked zucchini meat, rice and pork stuffing among shells equally. Top each zucchini generously with grated pecorino romano cheese. Cover zucchini with foil and placed it on the grill. Let cook for 15 minutes till zucchini shell has softened. Alternately, you can finish the cooking in a 400F oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil in the last 5 minutes of cooking to brown the top lightly.
Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. There you have it, a zucchini boat stuffed with pork fried rice and cheese.