Dolma, moussaka, and koftas: Aleksandar Taralezhkov’s summer season courgette recipes | Summer season foods and drinks

5 min read

You say zucchini; I say courgettes (or tikvichka in Bulgarian). Within the Balkans, on the top of summer season, we cherish this often-understated vegetable for its lightness. They’re the reward that retains on giving, rising abundantly. I’m significantly eager on its capability to each pack severe flavour by itself and to permit different substances to shine. As a rule, courgettes are good pals with yoghurt, garlic and dill, which counterpoint them fantastically. These two recipes each deliver fond reminiscences of household. Nostalgia apart, they’re additionally extraordinarily fast and simple.

Courgette dolma

A wonderful, mild, summery dish that occurs to be plant-based. In Bulgarian tradition, we name meals that don’t function meat postno, and sometimes have a chosen day of the week after we don’t eat meat. “I really feel like postno as we speak” is a phrase that comes up typically when making lunch or dinner plans in Sofia. We see it as a option to obtain a very good, balanced food plan. Serve at room temperature with tahini sauce blended with lemon juice and a few uncooked chopped garlic for additional punch.

Prep 30 min
Prepare dinner 30 min
Serves 4

150g bulgur wheat
2 onions
, peeled and diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium tomato
, grated
2 tsp salt
480ml vegetable inventory
½ bunch dill
, picked
4 courgettes
1 small handful currants

Dry roast the bulgur in a pan on a medium-high warmth for 5 to 6 minutes – that is the important thing to the flavour of this dish, and it’ll odor stunning. Don’t be afraid to let among the grains catch and char. Tip the bulgur right into a bowl, then sweat the onions in two tablespoons of oil till smooth and translucent. Reintroduce the bulgur to the pan with the grated tomato, salt and about 60ml of the inventory and depart the wheat to soak up the liquid. Stir within the dill and put aside to chill. The bulgur ought to nonetheless have a bit chunk, as a result of it’s solely semi-cooked.

Warmth the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/fuel 9. Whereas it’s heating up, put together the courgettes for stuffing. If the pores and skin is on the thick facet, use a serrated knife to scrape them off gently. Minimize the courgettes into roughly 2cm-thick rounds, and use an apple corer or a knife to chop out the centre of every slice.

Stuff every courgette spherical with the bulgur combination. Scatter any extra filling over the underside of an oiled oven tray, prepare the courgette rounds neatly on high, then push a number of currants into each dolma.

Gently pour the remaining inventory into the pan, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, then cowl tightly with foil Bake for half-hour, then take away, uncover instantly and put aside to chill. Serve at room temperature with some creamy, lemony tahini sauce in a bowl on the facet.

Courgette and parsley koftas

Koftas, or kyofteh in Bulgaria, are any combination formed into patties or balls. In summer season, a traditional vegetable kofta is made with courgettes. I really like the mixture with parsley, however be at liberty to experiment with different herbs: I as soon as made an outstanding model with wild candy fennel.

Prep 35 min
Prepare dinner 15 min
Serves 4

For the kofta
500g courgettes
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
, overwhelmed
2 spring onions
, trimmed and finely chopped
100g feta, crumbled
40g oats
2 tsp floor black pepper
1 bunch parsley
, leaves picked and finely chopped
Olive oil, for frying

For the sauce
300g yoghurt
1 handful dill leaves
, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
6 radishes, finely diced

Grate the courgettes on the coarse setting of a grater. Put in a bowl with the salt, then tip right into a colander and depart to empty for half-hour, till all the surplus water has drained off, then squeeze any remaining liquid out of the grated courgettes; repeat if needed.

Combine with the courgettes with the eggs, spring onions, feta, oats, black pepper and parsley, then mould and form into 12 patties: you need them pretty flat, in order that they’ll cook dinner throughout when fried.

Put all of the yoghurt sauce substances in a bowl and stir to mix. Put a beneficiant quantity of olive oil in a big frying pan set over a medium-highheat, then fry the koftas, in batches if want be, for about six minutes on either side, till they’ve a wonderful golden end. Go away to relaxation for a couple of minutes, then serve with the yoghurt sauce.

Courgette moussaka

Potatoes are often used as the bottom for Bulgarian moussaka, however because it’s summer season, and courgettes are at present at their finest, this makes for a lighter, summer season model. I exploit summer season savory, as a result of it’s the signature flavour of the area, and I’d encourage an journey to your native japanese European grocers to seek out some (it typically goes underneath the identify chubritza), but when all else fails, use oregano as an alternative.

Prep 35 min
Prepare dinner 40 min
Serves 6

For the bottom
1kg courgettes, diced
4 tsp salt
2 onions
, peeled and diced
2 carrots, trimmed and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
500g lamb mince
1 tbsp floor black pepper
1 tbsp candy paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp summer season savo
ry, dried, or oregano
1 tsp nutmeg

For the topping
250g yoghurt
3 eggs
2 tbsp flour
100g kashkaval or cheddar
, grated
1 pinch bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt

Toss the diced courgettes with half the salt, then put in a colander and depart to empty over the sink for half-hour.

Warmth the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/fuel 6. Over a medium-high warmth, sweat the onions, carrots and garlic in half the olive oil for a couple of minutes, till softened. Add the lamb mince and cook dinner till the mince is crumbly and dry (in Bulgaria we use the time period “on oil”, which implies many of the water has evaporated), then stir in a teaspoon of salt and all of the spices. Put aside.

Fry the courgettes within the remaining olive oil, sprinkle within the remaining teaspoon of salt, and cook dinner over a excessive warmth for about 5 minutes – you need them to tackle some color, however don’t overcook them or they are going to go mushy.

Now you can both combine the lamb combine and courgettes, or layer them up within the base of a 30cm x 23cm baking dish.

Combine all of the topping substances in a bowl with a pinch of salt, till it’s a thick batter consistency, then pour excessive of the mince and courgettes. Bake for 40 minutes, turning the dish now and again so it bakes evenly, then take away.Serve heat with a giant spoon of chilly yoghurt.

Aleksandar Taralezhkov is a Balkan cook dinner and meals author.

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