Kosa Muhshi

Kusa Muhshi

Kusa Muhshi (Stuffed squash in a tangy tomato sauce)

Thank you Rachel Somekh

Hashwa (filling):
1 lbs. lean ground beef
1 large onion
1 tablespoon corn or canola oil
3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped celery leaves (or parsley)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Put ground beef in a bowl. Use a food processor to chop onion finely, but not so finely so as to create a paste. Handful by handful, take chopped onion out of food processor and use both hands to squeeze over a sink. A lot of liquid should come out. Add the squeezed onion to the meat. Add oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and celery leaves, and kneed together well until everything is evenly distributed.
Squash and sauce:
10 small and thin squash (such as white squash, each should be 5 inches in length) OR
5 large zucchinis, each cut in half (each half about 4-5 inches in length)
3 large over ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced finely (or 1 can of peeled tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 lemon
3 tablespoons corn or canola oil
3 tablespoons red wine sweetened with silan or sugar (or sweet red wine)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Wash the squash well and, rather than peel them, slightly scrape off the outer layer of peel. Core each squash, beginning from the thicker end or, if they have been cut in half, begin from the cut area. Leave approximately 1/2 inch in thickness at the far end of the squash, and about 1/4 inch in thickness at the sides. Taste a bit of the coring before discarding it, to ensure that the squash is not bitter. (If the squash is bitter, discard it or it will ruin the dish.) Repeat this process until all the squash is cored.

In a wide and deep saucepan, put oil, tomatoes, pepper and cayenne. (If using canned tomatoes, do not add the liquid from the can until later.) Set on medium flame and sauté until tomatoes start to break down. Shut off flame and set aside.
Fill each squash by taking a chunk of meat, rolling it into a long, kabab-shaped object, and inserting it into the squash. The meat should fit tightly into the squash. For aesthetics, leave a little bit of meat protruding out of the open end of the squash, and round the end of the meat. Lay each filled squash in the saucepan.

Squeeze the lemon with a citrus juicer and mix the lemon, its pulp, the sweetened wine, salt, and 1 cup water. (If using canned tomatoes, use the liquid from the can instead of water). Into this mixture dissolve the tomato paste. Gently pour this liquid over all the squash in the saucepan. Set on medium flame and cover. When the liquid boils, lower flame to low and cook for about 20 minutes, until squash is soft. The sauce should be sufficiently reduced so that it is somewhat thick and very flavorful, but still abundant.

Adjust lemon, salt, and wine to taste. Gently remove each squash to a serving dish, array them in a nice pattern, pour the liquid over the squash, and serve.
Serve with white rice.