Growing up, Mahshi kousa was by far my favourite mahshi. I think that warak inab and beitinjan might have slightly edged ahead now, but growing up that soft, sweet courgette flesh around delicious spiced rice and meat was undeniably my favourite. Almost 3 years ago when Otis was about 7 months old, we went to visit my mother who had made up a huge pot of mahshi kousa for her first born grandchild. I thought he was way too young, but she put one in his hand and he went n to eat three whole courgettes! Otis shares so many of my tastes so I shouldn’t be too surprised. It won’t be long until we are giving Rupert his mahshi.
I was at my local grocer the other day when I saw a box of round courgettes and I immediately thought I just had to have them to stuff them. I bought the whole box. I decided to bake them in the oven in tomato sauce in my lidded clay-baker, and they came out just perfectly. My husband said they were the best he had ever had. We had ours for our Sunday lunch and it felt very special indeed.
for the courgettes
8 round courgettes
160g minced beef
2/3 cup rice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 whole head of garlic
For the tomato sauce
5 plump tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 mint water
Core the courgettes and preserve the removed flesh. Store the courgettes in a large saucepan filled with water and a bit salt
Mix together the rice, meat and spices until well combined
Make the tomato sauce by add the tomatoes, water and tomato puree and salt to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce and summer for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 190C
Stuff each courgette with the rice and meat mixture until it is 2/3 full and place them into the clay baker. Use the removed flesh of the courgettes to plug the open holes of the courgettes. Pour the tomato sauce into the clay baker and add more water if needed to reach half way up the courgettes.
chop the very top of the head of garlic to expose the flesh of the cloves and nestle into the courgettes
Bakes in the oven for 2 hours.
serve the courgettes on plates with some sauce and some of the roasted courgettes scooped out onto each plate. Enjoy with yoghurt.