© 2014 REMCooks.com

Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

This is such a festive dish. It’s simple, inexpensive, very filling and darn tasty.  How can you go wrong with this? You can’t.

About 10 years ago a conniving, mad scientist decided zucchini in the shape of small baseball bats were blasé and lonely little fruits. So, against conventional wisdom and to confuse foodies everywhere, he created a round zucchini.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Little did he realize that foodies everywhere would fall in love with his little round zucchinis. First, they are cute. Second, they taste like zucchini. Last, they are a perfect vehicle for stuffing and we like to stuff things. 🙂 Previously, we told you about stuffing zucchini with Shrimp Stuffed Zucchini with Tomato and Feta. It’s a remarkably flavorful dish. Naturally, we stuff chiles to make various rellenos like Chile Relleno en Nogada (Stuffed Chile in Walnut Sauce) and for dessert Cinnamon Candied Chile Relleno with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce. We have stuffed burgers like these Chihuahua Cheese Stuffed Porcine Chipotle Burgers. We have stuffed eggplants like this Meatless Monday Dinner – Baked Stuffed Eggplant and mushrooms like these Cajun Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. More or less, if it can be stuffed, we will stuff it. So, when we saw these beautiful 8 Ball Zucchini at the farmers market, we knew what we were going to do with them. We bought them and this is what we did.

Ingredients

  • 4 8 ball zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium white onion, diced (roughly 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2/3 cup bell pepper, diced (jalapeños if you want it spicy like we like it 🙂 )
  • 1/3 cup cilantro (parsley, if you don’t like cilantro)
  • 1 lb monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp chile powder
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups Mexican rice
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Instruction

Pre-heat an oven to 350 F. While the oven is pre-heating make the filling. Add the olive oil to a heavy skillet.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Add onions to skillet and sauté until soft and translucent. Do not caramelize the onions.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Now, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Next, add the celery

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Saute another minute or so and add the chile powder,

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

the cumin

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

and the ground pork. Brown the pork.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Oops!!! I forgot the oregano so add it now, too.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Now add the diced tomatoes

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Let the tomatoes cook down and reduce their liquids almost completely. Now, add the Mexican rice. You can use regular rice but Baby Lady had made a batch of Mexican rice a few days before. This was a fabulous way to used the leftover rice.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Add the bell pepper/jalapeño

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

and the cilantro.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Stir to incorporate, remove from heat and allow to cool. While the filling is cooling, top the 8 ball zucchini

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

and using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and hollow the zucchini.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Now, add the grated cheese to the filling. By waiting until the filling has cooled, the cheese won’t melt in the pan but will melt when you bake the zucchini.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Now, stuff the zucchini with the filling.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Put the tops on the zucchini when stuffed

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Place in pre-heated oven

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until tender. You will know they are done when you can pass a wood skewer through them will some but not a lot of resistance.

Remove from oven and plate.

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com

Serve and enjoy!!!

© 2014 REMCooks.com
© 2014 REMCooks.com
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19 thoughts on “Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini”

    1. Hi, Eva. Thanks for the compliment. 🙂 This is really tasty and very fun to make and serve. Yes, you can eat the skin like regular zucchini. It’s very tender. The only part that is inedible is the small spot on the flower end. It is tough and somewhat pithy similar to the flesh on a winter squash flower end.

  1. Have not seen such little round beauties around here: what an appetizing ‘whole’ meal!! Well I guess it can be prepared with the big long ones also. I oft make a vegetarian version with rice, spices and brown lentils: a lovely change when you know you have had your fair share of meat for the week 🙂 !

    1. Thanks, Eha, for the nice compliment. We don’t see these little beauties very often at the market as they sell out pretty quick. Next year I may try to grow some as it is a small, compact plant. Baby Lady doesn’t like lentils. 😦 Otherwise, I would have a lot more vegetarian posts on the blog.

        1. Hi Sharon. No, Baby Lady doesn’t like black beans either. She says they taste like dirt. They are pretty earthy tasting but, to me, that is part of the beauty of black beans. Elia likes pinto beans, red beans, kidney beans, purple hull peas, black eye peas, etc. She just doesn’t like lentils or black beans. I, on the other hand, like all of them. 🙂 Beans would probably go very well with this dish.

        2. In that case she probably does not like dhal either – I live on the stuff, cooking it down and using it instead of butter [or God forbid, substitutes] on morning toast 🙂 !

  2. Hi Richard, great post! The round zucchini are indeed perfect for stuffing and look great. I had to smile at your use of chile powder and jalapeños 😉 I bet these are wonderful with a great mix of flavors. When I made stuffed round zucchini, I parsteamed them and used the seeds in the filling. I bet it would be great, too, to stuff one with ground pork, cheese, and your pickled chipotles 🙂

    1. Thanks, Stefan. These very much were Southwestern style. 🙂 I thought about using the pickled chipotles but realized I was out. 😮 I used the last of them for Daniel when we made the stuffed porcine burgers with pickled chipotles He had not had them before. He thought they made one of the very best burgers he had ever eaten. The pickled chipotles are now on the to do list. 🙂
      I actually thought about par cooking the zucchini but inasmuch as they are meat filled you can cook them longer without worrying about overcooking the filling. Also, the pork fat cooks into the zucchini flesh. 🙂

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