Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quinoa stuffed Cousa Squash

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It's been awhile since I shared a recipe and Summer is now around the corner. I wanted to share this beautiful photo that I took of some purple bells. Every time I look at them, they remind me of summer and beautiful days in the sun. Speaking of blooms, I saw these beauties at the market: the Trieste White Cousa courgette, also known as Mid-East Cousa-Magda squash, sometimes spelled Kousa. I was surprised to see them because it's not the typical squash around here, I usually have to go to a mediterranean market for those sort of foods. Around the mediterranean , it is the staple of squash types and in the Levant region, it's simply called Cousa. Its chubby shape is perfect for stuffing and the skin stays tender, even for the larger size.


Cousa is typically stuffed with a mixture of rice, ground beef and tomatoes plus some aromatics and spices. I really like Quinoa and I think it works really well here as a replacement for the rice. I just have to make some adjustment in the cooking process due to the quick cooking quinoa. I first wash the squash, core it and drop it in salted boiling water for 5 minutes to speed up its cooking time. Remove it to a strainer and let cool. Save the water for later use.
I save the flesh of the squash and use it to make food for the kids. You can also add it to the stuffing or freeze it for later use in soups, etc.


Meanwhile, I assemble the stuffing by soaking the quinoa in a cup of water while I prepare the beef and tomatoes. I dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl. I dice half an onion and place in a pot with some olive oil, add the ground beef and the spices, sautee until onions soften and the meat loses its red color. Then I remove it and place over the tomatoes. Add the strained quinoa and mix well.

Stuffing the squash is fun, I get to play with the food a little. Use your finger to push the stuffing down and really pack it. For the sauce, I chop a tomato and some sage. Sautee with some olive oil in the same pot as before to really use all the remaining flavors. Once the tomatoes are soft, I add some of the water that I used earlier for the squash, the tomato paste, and all the spices, let simmer gently for a few minutes, taste and adjust seasoning if needed, and finally I add all the squash. Be careful to not drop the squash from a high point. With the help of tongs, it will be easier to place, splash free. Then I simmer for 20 minutes covered. And Voila! It's done.



Quinoa stuffed Cousa Squash
8 Cousa Squash

Stuffing Recipe
1/4 lb ground beef or bison
1/4 cup quinoa
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sweet pepper, ground
1/4 tsp allspice berries, ground
1/2 tsp salt


Sauce Recipe
1 tomato, diced
3 cups water
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sweet pepper, ground
1/4 tsp allspice berries, ground



4 comments:

  1. Wow,
    What a wonderful idea, to replace the rice with Quinoa. I've been making cousa for years, and it's always been the traditional way. Kudos for innovation on a dish that's been around for ages.

    Well Done.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can't wait to try this. I love quinoa (I always replace the burghul in tabbouli with it) and I adore cousa ma7shi. I'm sure it's a fantastic combination.

    ReplyDelete
  3. on a quest for what to do with an enormous amount of cousa, so I want to try this- but do you really put them into water? no baking? I am so into this idea as it is 95 degrees here today

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Yes, just core them, stuff them, make the sauce and put them in there. (PS: stirring them will break them apart, adjust sauce and seasoning before you add the cousa). They will come out tender and flavorful, great dish for hot weather.

    ReplyDelete

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