Summer Squash Farci with Chicken Quinoa

The first time I had farcis was in France over 10 years ago. Small round vegetables like onions and courgettes were stuffed with ground beef, pork, and lamb. There were also vegetables and rice in the stuffing but it was mainly meat. It was then baked with bread crumbs and cheese on top. Some versions I had were even served with tomato sauce. Are you drooling yet? Sounds incredible, right? I LOVE farcis and I love that each stuffed vegetable is a complete meal.

Since we have cut down on meat and have been exploring other kinds of foods, I wanted to create a modern and less meaty version of the traditional farci. I've made various versions already but the one I want to share is one of my favorite ones. My stuffed vegetable of choice are the little summer squashes known as pattypan squashes. Technically, squashes are fruit but we treat them as vegetables most of the time! Round zucchini balls work well too and are easier to stuff. I like the taste of the pattypan squashes. Since they are only available this season, I only get to make these farcis in the summer time:( I do make plenty of them so we have leftovers for days! Yay! Cook once, enjoy many times! I love that :)

Summer Squash Farci with Chicken Quinoa
Serves 8

12 pattypan squash (or round vegetable of your choice)
12 slices of tomato (optional)

4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 onion, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
400g ground chicken
1 cup pattypan squash flesh (or insides of the round vegetable you are using)
1/2 cup loosely fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp salt
3/4 cup to 1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan

Cut off the tops of the squash and scoop out the flesh. You only need to save 1 cup of the flesh for this recipe. The rest can be used for stock or soup or whatever else you can think up. You want to scoop out enough to have a good fill with the stuffing but not too much or else the squash will puncture. Keep in mind the squash will also shrink and thin out a bit when cooked.

In a wok, fry the onion and garlic in oil for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add the squash flesh, basil, tomato paste, and salt. Cook for another minute. Finally add the water, stir in the quinoa and Parmesan, add the egg and turn off the heat. This is your stuffing.

Fill each squash with the stuffing and make sure each squash is packed tight. This is another reason you don't want to scoop out too much flesh from the squash :) Top each farci with a tomato slice before placing their tops on. The tomato slices keep the top of the filling moist so that the quinoa ends up cooked instead of being toasted. Bake at 375 F for around 45 minutes.

After you fill all the squashes, you may have some leftover filling. The pattypan squashes didn't have a lot of volume for me to fill so I ended up with extra filling. You could either prepare more vegetables to stuff or make something else with the stuffing. I ended up whipping up some fried rice using mine.


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