Small Stuffed Zucchinis with Black Rice and Oregano — Petites courgettes farcies au riz noir et à l’origan

A few months ago, I received a package from Bordeaux, France. My first thought was “Mais je ne connais personne à Bordeaux ! Ca vient de qui ?” (I don’t know anyone in Bordeaux! Who is it coming from?) By now, you know how much I love to receive packages, so after only less than 1 mn of utter surprise, my animal instinct got the better of me. Who cared where it was coming from, after all? In no time, the thick brown wrapping was ripped open; I dug into the box and found a lovely surprise! The package was actually coming from Anne, an extremely friendly French blogger who had taken the kind initiative to send me a few French cooking magazines, along with 2 precious boxes of black rice. I felt really touched! This is one of the joys brought by food blogging. Not even a year ago — since I only started my blog by the end of November of last year — , I would never have imagined that I would meet and talk to so many wonderful people, with whom I share my love for food. Nothing could make me happier than getting black rice from Anne.

Le riz noir — Black Rice

Just a few words. Called Forbidden Rice at the court of ancient Chinese Emperors because it was known as an aphrodisiac, black rice also has a lot of nutritional properties, just like brown rice. I don’t know about you, but just by its looks, I find it irresistible. Who could really not fall for the mystery, the exotism found in its deep rich black color? Pas moi !

I have wondered about the best way to use this delicate ingredient for some time now, because I have meant to make a dish, perfect enough to pay a nice tribute to Anne’s kind gesture. Ideas on how to use black rice abund, but it is only recently that I have found a dish that I knew would be the dish-to-say-thank-you-Anne. As a matter of fact, this type of dish is not a type of food I like. J’adore cela ! (I love it)

Les petits légumes farcis — Small Stuffed Vegetables

I find strange to think that the flavors I use the most in my cooking differ so much from the food traditions from Lorraine, the area I come from in France. I rarely crave charcuterie, or quiche lorraine, to name only a few specialities. Although my mum always had a hard time growing eggplants or peppers — lemons and oranges were out of the question — , she would always plant a lot of zucchinis, tomatoes, beans and salads. I was always curious to understand what could grow in our garden, and what couldn’t. To my questions, my mum would answer “Je n’ai pas une terre à carottes” (I don’t have a soil for carrots) or “il ne fait pas assez chaud pour faire pousser des poivrons” (it is not hot enough to grow peppers), and it is true that, although we still grew carrots, they always had funky-weird shapes. We actually missed a lot of the vegetables that are more typical of the South, which remain my favorites. Thinking about the smell of tarragon, oregano, les herbes de provence, or olive oil always reminds me of the South from Marcel Pagnol, with movies such as Le château de ma mère or La gloire de mon père. When I was a child, watching those movies was a real treat. It is the South of France that makes you want to move in a house on a hill, just right there.

A few days ago, I needed to run a quick errand at the vegetable market — and I intended to be quick, so as to prevent myself from buying many vegetables which would keep me tied to the hot stove for too many long hours. I needed a box or two of fresh berries to complete a started dessert experiment. I had no idea that while at the store, I would have to refrain myself from kissing the shop assistant, or sing and tell the lady next to me “Regardez, ca y est, ils en ont !“(look! they have some!) because this quick trip was going to make me so happy.

They were finally carrying round zucchinis. I had been on the lookout to find them for quite a while now. Every time I asked local vegetable producers whether they carried des courgettes rondes, I was given the “What are they? No, we don’t grow that type of vegetable, sorry” answer. To my disappointment. And I wonder. Why is it that round zucchinis are such a popular, easy-to-find type of zucchini in France when it is so hard to find them here in the US. Does it have to do with the climate? Is it because they are harder to grow?

Although the variety I found was not exactly what I am more familiar with, I knew they would do. I picked 6 of them out of the small basket on display, 2 of each color: yellow, dark and light green. Vite, il n’en reste pas beaucoup ! (Quick, there are not many left!) I did not even take time to notice the price. On my way out to pay, the cashier looked at me and asked What are those? Not familiar with the product code, she had to walk away to get it. “Oh, cheap!,” she told me in a Spanish accent, as she typed it in the machine. Oui, bon marché ! Cheap indeed! For 6, I barely paid 86 cents. Didn’t they know they were gold to me?

While driving home, my head kept spinning with ideas on how to prepare them. I had been waiting for my sweet courgettes for so long that I probably could have chosen between at least 10 different ways to cook them. I decided to prepare une farce (stuffing) with black rice, and sautéed vegetables with flavors from the South of France I remembered: oregano, garlic, tomatoes, and yellow and red peppers. I also added prosciutto and parmesan. In one dish, I was able to combine two flavors of the world: China with the black rice, and the South of France with oregano. Imagination takes you anywhere.

Merci Anne !

Small Stuffed Zucchinis with Black Rice and Oregano

You need:

  • 6 round small zucchinis (squash)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup cooked black rice*
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • 1 oz grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup (minus 1 Tbsp) chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 6 mini Roma tomatoes, corred, seeded and chopped, or 4 big ones.
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped yellow and red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

*The black rice I used comes from Northern China, and is also called Venere, and Forbidden Rice.

Steps:

  • Start by washing your zucchinis. Cut the top off, 1/2 inch from top. Keep them.
  • With a pointy spoon (such as a grapefruit spoon), dig the zucchini flesh carefully out, making sure to not make a hole at the bottom. Chop it thinly.
  • Cook your black rice in salted boiling water, according to the instructions on your package. (mine cooked in about 18 mns). Set aside.
  • Take a large frying pan and heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add the garlic, red onion and chopped zucchinis, and cook for a few mns.
  • Add the peppers, then the tomatoes and sundried tomato paste. Mix well and cook for a few more mns on medium heat, until softer.
  • Chop the prosciutto slices and add them to the preparation.
  • Remove the vegetable preparation from the heat and place it in a bowl.
  • Add the rice, the chopped herbs and mix together.
  • Add the parmesan (keep a little extra to top over the vegetable filling, before covering with the zucchini tops).
  • Take a baking dish and oil it. Place the hollow zucchinis in it, and season with salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil.
  • Fill them with the vegetable preparation.
  • Sprinkle some parmesan on top and place the zucchini tops over.
  • Add a splash of olive oil on each.
  • Pour the chicken stock in the dish, around the zucchinis.
  • Place the dish in a preheated oven at 350 F, and cook for about 1 hour.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, keep them moist by pouring chicken stock regularly.
  • Serve les petites courgettes farcies with a nice salad
    You might have some vegetable filling leftover, but truly, this is ok! It is great on its own!



Le coin français

Petites courgettes farcies au riz noir et à l’origan

Ingrédients :

  • 6 petites courgettes rondes
  • 4 gousses d’ail, écrasées et émincées
  • 1/2 oignon rouge, émincé
  • 150 g de riz noir cuit*
  • 2 tranches de prosciutto
  • 30 g de parmesan râpé
  • 100 ml de bouillon de poule
  • 1 càs de pâte de tomates séchées
  • 1 càs d’origan haché
  • 1 càs de persil haché
  • 6 petites tomates Roma, épépinées et détaillées en petits dés, ou 4 grandes.
  • 1/4 de poivron jaune et 1/4 de poivron rouge coupés en petits cubes
  • Huile d’olive
  • Sel et poivre

*Le riz noir que j’ai utilisé vient de Chine du Nord, et est aussi connu sous le nom Venere, ou Riz interdit.

Étapes :

  • Commencez par laver vos courgettes. Coupez un chapeau, à 1 cm du haut. Conservez-les.
  • Avec une cuillère pointue (cuillère à pamplemousse), creusez délicatement les courgettes pour en retirer la chair, en faisant attention de ne pas percer le fond. Découpez-la en petits dés.
  • Cuisez votre riz noir dans de l’eau bouillante salée, en suivant les instructions sur votre paquet (le mien a cuit en 18 mns). Gardez de côté.
  • Prenez une grande poêle et chauffez 2 càs d’huile d’olive. Lorsqu’elle est chaude, ajoutez l’ail, l’oignon rouge et les dés de courgettes, et faites cuire pendant quelques mns.
  • Ajoutez les poivrons, puis les tomates avec la pâte de tomates séchées. Mélangez bien et poursuivez la cuisson sur feu moyen, jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient tendres.
  • Coupez les tranches de prosciutto en petits bouts et ajoutez-les à votre préparation.
  • Poursuivez la cuisson pendant 2 mns, puis retirez du feu. Placez la préparation dans un bol.
  • Ajoutez le riz, les herbes hachées, et mélangez.
  • Ajoutez le parmesan (gardez-en un peu pour saupoudrer la farce, avant de remettre le chapeau sur les courgettes.
  • Prenez un plat allant au four et huilez-le. Placez-y les courgettes vides que vous salez, poivrez et arrosez d’un filet d’huile d’olive.
  • Remplissez-les de la farce.
  • Saupoudrez de parmesan et couvrez-les de leur chapeau.
  • Arrosez d’un filet d’huile d’olive.
  • Versez les bouillon de poule dans le plat, autour des courgettes.
  • Enfournez au four préchauffé à 180 C, et cuisez pendant 1 heure.
  • Aspergez les courgettes avec du bouillon en cours de cuisson.
  • Servez les petites courgettes farcies avec une salade verte
    Il se peut qu’il vous reste de la farce. C’est délicieux tout seul !

Posted in French Inspired, Grains | 37 Comments

37 comments

  1. This recipe looks so great. I really am going to try it.
    In Australia, these ‘squash’ or ‘button squash’ can be found everywhere. Yeah for me.

  2. Trop mignons! J’aurais presque peur de leur faire mal! :-) Vraiment, les photographies, chapeau encore une fois pour la composition.

  3. Yum! That looks great. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a few of those around the farmer’s markets and I have some black rice. I’ll definitely be trying this.

  4. Those are so beautiful! I was cooking with the patty pan squash just a few days ago, and they really brightened up the lamb dish I threw them into. I love your photos here.

  5. J’ai justement un patisson (un peu plus grand que le tien) mais je ne savais pas quoi en faire. Encore des photos magnifiques avec des couleurs de printemps

  6. magnifique !!!(et pourtant ce n’est pas rouge ;) ) … ma farce habituelle pour ces petites merveilles est généralement composée d’agneau, herbes, épices et raisins secs … maintenant j’ai une autre version à essayer !

  7. Après le rouge, le noir ;)
    Bravo pour ces clichés, c’est tout simplement à tomber et comme dit Ninnie, on n’aurait presque m

  8. (suite et fin…) Come dit Ninnie, on aurait presque mal au coeur de les manger tellement elles sont belles !

  9. et bien, Anne a drôlement bien fait de t’envoyer ce riz noir, que tu transcendes une fois de plus, que j’aime ta cuisine toujours colorée, savoureuse et originale!! bravo!!

  10. Beautiful colours! Hmmmm, i have been chuckling to myself because i happen to have been given a rather large zucchini or courgette. It’s King size! lol. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but now wish they had given me some beautiful dainty ones like these… :)

    Back to the drawing board!

    I haven’t had black rice yet – i’ll be looking out for these. The photos are stunning as usual.

    Btw, there’s definitely a channel here, don’t you think? I mean, coconut milk which is my favourite too, fishballs, zucchinis… hmmm :)

  11. Je retiens l’idée du riz noir qui rend les traditionnels petits farcis carrément branchés. La classe (encore une fois) !

  12. Loved your description of how you felt when you finally found tes courgettes rondes!!! I love your photos and the light and the colors too.

  13. Yummy! I love squash and stuffed foods in general. I have not had black rice, but I will have to try it.

  14. tu vas pouvoir créer pleins de nouvelles recettes avec le riz noir, il aime se marier avec les fruits de mer alors si tu aimes profites en.

  15. Les légumes farcis sont le plat de l’été par excellence pour moi, alors elle me plait ta recette.
    J’adore tes photos !

  16. Oh my goodness! I was at the farmer’s market today and I saw baby squash … if only I had bought them! I love that you used the black rice to stuff them. As always so inventive!

  17. Anne est réellement une personne très généreuse …
    And your recipe is perfectfor me … I like zucchinis and what’s colors ?

  18. These are beautiful, and what an inventive way to use squash. I’ll definitely try these for my next dinner party- thank you for the idea.

  19. Oh I wish I had seen this post 6 months ago Béa, I had the little yellow ones growing almost wild in my garden!
    Yum, your photos are completely stunning as usual!!

  20. Your enthusiasm is as vibrant as your photos! Thanks for sharing another wonderful story.

  21. je viens juste d’acheter du carnaroli pour jouer au chef…et vlatypas qu’elle nous proposes du riz noir…!
    Suivre la cadence… hi hi hi!

  22. oh well, i just love everything here! very refreshing colors indeed! you should actually have these photos published on a book or something with that talent…*thumbs up!*

  23. It’s so lovely, but can I take wild rice instead of black rice? In any way your really courageous to write everything in English

  24. hi bea, gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous dish! and what patience you must have, stuffing each and every one of those baby patty pan squashes with rice ;)

  25. Thanks Ellen, I hope you like it!

    Thanks Tanna!

    Ninnie, trop marrant! ;-) merci de ton mot.

    Stefanie, let me know how it goes.

    Danielle, thanks a lot! The lamb in them sounds great actually.

    Texmex, ah ben de circonstance alors!

    Choupette, merci ;-) Gentil de ta part.

    Kat, thanks to you again!

    Anne, merci encore a toi , pour ta gentillesse et generosite!

    B, ah oui, l’agneau, c’est une excellente idee.

    Ingrid, merci!

    Alhya, merci a toi. Vous me comblez toutes!

    Mae, yes you are right. There is definitely a channel. I would eat SO well at your table. I hope your zucchino provider does not read my blog ahahah

    Jeff, yes I used a macro for a few shots.

    Framboise, merci a toi. En plus tu sais quoi, c’est super bon le riz noir.

    Lucy, ah yes I literally was *so* happy! I was beaming!

    Natalie, I hope you enjoy it.

    Anne, tres bonnes suggestions. J’aime les fruits de mer, et a Boston, on est gates avec les produits de la mer.

    Mercotte, merci!

    Karine, oui je suis completement d’accord avec toi. Moi aussi j’adore les farcis en tout genre.

    Ivonne, go back quick!

    Fabienne, oui elle est geniale Anne!

    Anne, thanks. Let me know how you like them.

    Bron, lucky you! I wish they were growing wild in my garden!

    S’kat, thanks! Very nice of you.

    Lilizen, ahah effectivement! ;-)

    Mily, yes absolutely. Another rice would work perfectly.

    Ces, thanks so much. Nice of you to think so!

    J, I am usually not known for patience though, except when it comes to food ;-)

  26. What a wonderful surprise, wasn’t it?! I have never seen these lovely courgettes in the market over here in England. I shall keep looking. Made me envious – in a good way!!

  27. You know J and I do theme T’days here-
    We had a fantastic Chinese Thanksgiving once-
    Glazed Ginger Turkey, Black Rice stuffing- with stuff- water chestnuts etc, Pea sprouts done in a very special way. [Yes – this is before we had A]
    We had about 10 dishes on the table- just for 4 of us!
    I wish i had recorded it all-
    Quite decadent.
    Black Rice, the forbidden one, is QUITE NICE!

  28. Thaks Valentina! They are not easy to find here either, whereas in France, the round green ones are everywhere!

    Thanks Kim. Yes I agree with you. A great rice!

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