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.
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.
- 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
Pre-heat an oven to 350 F. While the oven is pre-heating make the filling. Add the olive oil to a heavy skillet.
Add onions to skillet and sauté until soft and translucent. Do not caramelize the onions.
Now, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Next, add the celery
Saute another minute or so and add the chile powder,
and the ground pork. Brown the pork.
Oops!!! I forgot the oregano so add it now, too.
Now add the diced tomatoes
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.
Add the bell pepper/jalapeño
and the cilantro.
Stir to incorporate, remove from heat and allow to cool. While the filling is cooling, top the 8 ball zucchini
and using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and hollow the zucchini.
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.
Now, stuff the zucchini with the filling.
Put the tops on the zucchini when stuffed
Place in pre-heated oven
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.
Serve and enjoy!!!