In her review of Carpathia, Nicky says this Romanian Stuffed Courgette Soup With Soured Cream is one of her top five new dishes of the year so far (and given how voracious an appetite she has for trying new recipes), that’s quite an accolade.
She tells us it’s one of those ‘greater than the sum of the parts’ recipes, where humble ingredients treated simply somehow result in a phenomenal dish. Here, beef-stuffed courgettes (zucchini) are gently poached in a beef broth, and served with sour cream and mint.
For those of you who grow your own courgettes, this is an excellent idea for something different to make, when you’re dealing with a glut!
Romanian Stuffed Courgette Soup With Soured Cream (Ciorbă de dovlecei umpluţi)
For the filling:
- 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 30 g (1¼ oz) arborio rice
- 200 g 7oz minced beef
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed almost to a paste
- 1 egg, beaten
- 5 g (1⁄₈oz) salt
- 5 g (1⁄₈oz) ground pepper
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ bunch of mint, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the ciorbă:
- 4 courgettes
- 1.5 litres (3lb 6oz) homemade beef stock
- 100 g (3½ oz) tomato puree
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp soured cream
- Mint leaves
To make the filling:
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion with the rice until the onion is soft and golden.
Add the beef and cook for a further 10 minutes or until browned, stirring often.
Set aside to cool, then add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine well.
To make the ciorbă:
Cut the courgettes into 2 or 3 cylinders (depending on their size) and gently scoop out the seeds and a bit of the flesh to create hollow tubes. Stuff the minced meat filling into the hollows tightly, then set aside.
Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan over a high heat.
Add the tomato puree and stuffed courgettes, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the courgettes are cooked but still firm on the outside and retaining their green colour.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar.
Serve immediately with dollops of soured cream and mint leaves.
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Recipe extracted from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu with permission from publisher Frances Lincoln. Book photography by Jamie Orlando Smith. The book is currently available from Amazon UK (at time of publication) for £15.99 (RRP £22.00).