Like the stuffed grape vine leaves, the stuffed squash, Koosa, is another Lebanese favourite. My mother’s first vegetable garden this year on Saltspring Island was almost wholly devoted to growing this unique vegetable. The recipe can be done with regular-sized squash or zucchini, although this family recipe has always traditionally been done with small, pale green or summer squash.
15 small squash (or other squash), hollowed
1 Lb. lean ground lamb or beef
1 cup rice
1 can of tomato juice (4-5 cups)
Juice from 2 lemons
1-2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper, cinnamon and allspice
1. Prepare the squash by hollowing out with a vegetable corer (available at most kitchen stores, or the back of a spoon.)
2. Once cored, rinse the hollowed squash and let soak in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt.
3. In the meantime, mix beef, rice, lemon, and spices in a bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand.
4. Gently fill the cavities of the squash with the meat mixture. Push with the finger to make sure the entire space is filled. Leave half a centimetre of space free at the ends.
5. Place the stuffed squash into a large saucepan. Fill with tomato juice until squash are nearly covered. Place a dish on top of the squash as they cook to make sure the contents stay inside and they don’t move around while cooking. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 35 minutes.