This is the ultimate comfort food! It takes a some time to prepare this meal but it is SO worth it. This is a well known meal across the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern countries. Every region has their own twist and flavours.
The stuffed squash and grape leaves are filled with the same rice/beef mixture. It’s all cooked together in a large pot with a warm tomato sauce. Tender beef (or lamb) pieces are cooked in the sauce as well. This is optional but highly recommended. The beef pairs really well with the stuffed squash and grape leaves.
1 jar grape leaves
8 zucchini cored
Beef ribs or sirloin steak pieces (boiled for 5 minutes to remove scum)
For the stuffing:
1/2 kg ground beef
2.5 cups Egyptian rice
2 crushed garlic
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp 7 spices (allspice)
For the sauce:
4 cups water
1 can tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp 7 spices (allspice)
Salt & pepper
3 roughly chopped garlic
2 tomatoes, sliced
Wash and drain grape leaves from the jar.
In a bowl mix all the stuffing ingredients until combined.
In a large measuring cup, add all ingredients for the sauce and mix together. Set aside.
Spoon 1 tbsp of stuffing onto each leaf and roll ensuring you fold in the sides.
Stuff zucchini leaving 1” from the top empty to allow the rice to expand
In a large pot, add tomato slices
Add beef then layer the zucchini & grape leaves closing off any gaps
Add shallots sporadically
Finish off by pouring sauce all over
Cover everything with a heat safe plate and turn the fire onto high heat
Once it comes to a boil, lower heat to med/low and cover with pot lid
Cook for 1hr and 30-45 min
Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before flipping over onto a large platter