Middle Eastern Courgettes Baked in a Cheese Sauce

Courgettes (zucchini) baked in a cheese sauce (kousa bi gebna) may sound like a very basic dish and yet this recipe was the surprise winner of all the food we cooked when reviewing Ghillie Başan’s The Lebanese Cookbook. Described as a typical family dish, it consists of sliced courgettes baked in cheesy egg mixture reminiscent of a quiche filling. The use of caraway is a revelation, lifting and complementing the courgettes, cheese and eggs.

Read our full review of Ghillie Başan’s The Lebanese Cookbook.

Courgettes baked in a cheese sauce (kousa bi gebna)

Photography from The Lebanese Cookbook
This Middle Eastern recipe works as a delicious vegetarian main dish on its own but also makes a lovely side vegetable.

Courgettes baked in a cheese sauce (kousa bi gebna)

Middle Eastern Courgettes Baked in a Cheese Sauce

In this typical family dish, kousa bi gebna, the courgettes are baked in a cheesy egg mixture which is a bit like an omelette. Home comfort food, traditionally the dish is prepared with a crumbly, tangy cheese made from ewe’s milk, but a combination of mature Cheddar and Parmesan works well. You can also make it with feta and add a little mint.
Author Ghillie Bassan

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus a knob of butter
  • 2 onions, cut in half lengthways and sliced finely with the grain
  • 1-2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 4-6 firm courgettes, trimmed and cut into thick slices lengthways
  • 8 eggs
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz) milk
  • 250 g (9 oz) mixed Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until soft. Stir in the caraway seeds and then remove from the heat.
  • Place the courgette slices in a steamer and steam for about 10 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain well, pat dry and spread half the slices in the base of an ovenproof dish. Spread the onion mixture, including the oil and butter, over the top and arrange another layer of courgettes over the onions.
  • Beat the eggs with the milk and then mix in the cheese and paprika. Season generously and pour the over the courgettes. Bake the dish for 20–25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Homebaked Courgettes baked in a cheese sauce (kousa bi gebna)

Give this a go and let us know how you like it? We’ve made it several times in the space of just a few weeks and it’s already become one of our go-to courgette recipes!

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Kavey Eats received a review copy of The Lebanese Cookbook by Ghillie Başan from publisher Lorenz Books. Recipe published with permission. Cover and book photography provided by Lorenz. Home cooked recipe photography, Kavita Favelle.

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