Recipe courtesy of Marcie Place, owner of The Chocolate Spoon
*Ingredients available at the farmers’ market
● 4 small cousa or “Syrian Squash”*
● 1⁄4 cup olive oil*
● 1 teaspoon ground allspice
● 1 tablespoon salt
● 2 tablespoons tomato paste
● 1 lb diced tomatoes*
● 1 garlic clove*, crushed
● 2 cups vegetable stock
FOR THE STUFFING
● 1 small onion*, finely chopped
● 1-2 tomatoes*, finely chopped
● 1 bunch fresh parsley*, finely chopped
● 2⁄3 cup uncooked basmati rice washed and drained
● salt and pepper
● Optional: 1 lb ground lamb or beef
- Hollow from one end of the cousa with an apple corer or a small spoon leaving about 1/4-inch-thick shell all around.
- Wash them thoroughly and dry.
- To make the stuffing, mix the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl, add a little oil, 1/2 tsp allspice and season with salt and pepper.
- Stuff the cousa up to three-quarters full (do not fill to the brim as the mixture will expand when cooking and leak out).
- In a large casserole or saucepan, first oil the base, then place the diced tomatoes at the bottom of the pot.
- Sprinkle crushed garlic on top and then layer the stuffed cousa.
- Season with remaining half of the spices and oil.
- Mix the tomato paste with the vegetable stock and pour into the pot to cover the stuffed cousa.
- Cover the cousa with a plate or something to hold them down lightly to keep them in place while cooking so the stuffing doesn’t run out.
- Put the pot to cook on high heat and bring it to a boil.
- When it comes to boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour.
- Uncover and simmer to thicken the sauce, if needed.
- Serve hot.