Freezes beautifully • 08.05.09
I’m sure this will come as no surprise to most of you, but Steel Magnolias is just about my favourite movie of all time. I never get tired of watching it and I can quote large pieces on demand (“Smile! It increases your face value!”, “Sammy’s so confused he don’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt.”, “Speakin’ of drawers, hang on to yours!”) And, I always quote Daryl Hannah’s character, Annelle, when I’m cooking something I want to freeze.
Annelle is going to cook something for her friends who are in the hospital (as we Southern girls do.) She has her heart set on a certain dish, but isn’t sure she will have time to make it, and she says, “It’s in the Freezes Beautifully section of my cookbook and I want to take something that freezes beautifully!”
Ok, I’ll stop with the movie quotes. But, like Annelle’s dish (which was red beans and rice, for those of you playing along at home), the dish I want to tell you about today does Freeze Beautifully.
These stuffed zucchini have been in my freezer for at least three weeks. I warmed a few up for dinner tonight, and they were just as good as the first night I made them. These are a great way to use up zucchini, and you can throw anything you’ve got on hand into the stuffing. They are hearty and healthy and will give you the energy to “jog to Texas and back” even if your “daughter can’t! She never could!”
I really am done now.
Man, that is an ugly picture. Don’t let it put you off! These are really tasty, it’s my photo skills that are yucky!
(adapted from Delicious magazine)
1 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb (or about 250-300g) minced pork
1 small egg, lightly beaten
2 tbs freshly grated Parmesan, plus 1 tbs extra to serve
3 tbs dried breadcrumbs
1 tbs finely chopped parsley
1 tbs tomato paste
4 zucchini, medium sized
Preheat your oven to 180C (about 250F) and lightly oil a baking tray.
Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until soft but not browned. Cool the onions, then place in a bowl with the pork, egg, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, tomato paste and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix well.
Halve the zucchini length ways and use a teaspoon to scoop out the centres. I couldn’t get this to work with a teaspoon, so I ended up cutting out the centres, which was a pain. A melon-baller would be ideal for this if you have one.
As you hollow out the zucchini, keep the pulp from the centres. Finely chop the pulp and squeeze dry with papertowels. Add this to the meat mixture and combine.
Form the meat mixture into sausage shapes and use these to fill the zucchini. Once filled, place the zucchini on the baking tray and back for 40 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and lightly browned.
These are excellent with a fresh tomato sauce, salsa or just roughly chopped tomatoes.