A summer delicacy from the Bodrum Peninsula is "Stuffed Courgette Flowers". These beautiful yellow coloured flowers open early in the morning and they are picked and used the same day. In Turkish itis called "Kabak Çiçeği Dolması". As we are very fond of "dolmas", summer and winter we use a range of vegetables with this rice and pine nut stuffing. Stuffed tomatoes, peppers, wine leaves, cabbage leaves. They are also stuffed with a mixture of beef, rice and spices bursting with delicious flavours. Why not try it, itis not as difficult as you would imagine!
- 20-25 courgette flowers
- 1 cup rice
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 medium tomato, skinned and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1/2 cup of fresh dill, finely chopped
- black pepper and salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon black currants
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 sugar cubes
- 1,5 cups water
- 1 cup water+2 tablespoons olive oil
Rinse rice in cold water, drain. Soak black currants after removing any stalks in warm water for 20 minutes to soften. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion and sugar and gently cook the chopped onion till softened. Add the pine nuts, stir and toast.
Add the rice, diced red bell pepper and currants, saute stirring on gentle heat for 10 minutes or until the rice looks see through . Add the chopped tomatoes, 1,5 cups water, dill and dried mint. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Add cinnamon, salt, pepper and allspice, stir well. Replace the lid. Set aside to cool.
Remove the inner stamens of the flower, taking extra care not to harm the petals. Wash and put in a bowl filled with very cold water so the flowers stay open. Take the flowers, drain on an absorbent kitchen towel, carefully spoon the rice mixture into each flower, folding over the tops to encase the filling.
In a medium sized pot pack the flowers tightly. Mix the 1 cup water + 2 tablespoons olive oil and pour over the flowers. Cover and cook over gentle heat until the water evaporates, for 20-25 minutes. Let rest covered for an hour. Serve warm or cold with lemon wedges to squeeze over.