Courgettes baked with minced meat and cheese

Actually I’m not a big fan of courgettes. But some courgette dishes are so delicious (like this one) that I can’t stop eating what I’ve cooked. My recipe will reduce much time and labor comparing to other similar recipes you may have seen on the web: I omit some useless steps like precooking minced meat, digging holes in courgettes etc.

Note that it’s impossible to give the exact amount of courgettes – everything depends on their diameter. This time I was cooking both – baked courgettes with minced meat and courgette caviar. So the excess piece of courgette I’ve put there.

Ingredients:

  • Young courgettes with tender skin ~2,2 kg (they should be enough to cover 1 baking tray)
  • 350 g of cheese (Edam, Gouda etc., it should be real cheese that is able to melt)
  • 350 g of tasty mayonnaise (factory made, in Russia we use mayonnaise that is not sweet and a bit salty, f.e. Thai mayonnaise won’t fit this recipe, beacuse it’s sweet)

Minced meat:

  • 1-1,2 kg of meat (I take pork, but I’m sure that any type of meat will work fine)
  • 1 onion bulb (100-125 g)
  • 2-2,5 tsp of salt
  • 0,25 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp of fried sesame seeds (optional, but I like this taste)

Instructions

1. Wash courgettes and cut off ends and any skin defects that you are not ready to eat later. Cut in pieces:

Cut courgette with pieces

2. Make minced meat out of the ingredients I’ve given you before.

3. I’m using 2 non-stick baking molds. If you use a baking tray – cover it with high quality parchment paper so that its walls will be covered also. Put courgettes there, so they stay as close to each other as possible (time to use your Tetris skills 🙂 ).

Fill the tray with courgettes

4. Divide minced meat in 3-4 portions, so you’ll be able to check, if you spread it really equally. Start spreading minced meat over courgettes: form little patties and top each piece of courgette. Make sure that pieces of courgettes do not lean to any side, their surface should be parallel to the floor.

5. Spread mayonnaise over minced meat equally. You may use less mayonnaise than I have suggested, if you help to spread it with a finger. But don’t reduce the amount of mayonnaise too much – it is responsible for juiciness of cooked patties.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (I use convection mode, as I have electric oven). Meanwhile cut the cheese as thin as possible.

A good idea is to ask a seller to slice cheese prior to buying it.

Top every piece of courgette with cheese. Note: the more cheese you use, the more cheese will flow down while melting. That’s why I highly recommend not to use more than 350 g of cheese.

Courgettes baked with meat and cheese: all stages

7. Put courgettes in hot oven. Total time of baking is 40-45 min. Baking process depends on courgettes: usually they produce much juice, so it’s a good idea to take them out after 20 min. of baking and pour the juice out. That’s why it’s important to make “walls” out of parchment paper higher than the walls of baking tray: the paper will help you to pour juices clean – just lean baking tray to one of its 4 edges.

Than put courgettes back to the oven and bake them for another 15 min. – now check, whether they have produced more liquid. If they did, pour it out one more time.

Now bake courgettes another 5-10 min. Pay attention at the color of cheese: if it turned beautifully brown, the dish is ready. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down for a while.

Courgettes baked with meat and cheese

8. As you see, cheese slices have glued to each other. Take sharp knife and make cuts on borders of each piece. Note that your aim is to cut only cheese layer through (~2 mm), this way you won’t cut parchment paper or harm non-stick layer of a mold.

You may have noticed that minced meat of my courgettes is slightly pink – the thing is that after I had minced the meat, I stored it for several hours. The salt (here we use more salt than in patties) works as color fixer. If your cooked minced meat has pink color also and you are worried because you don’t want to consume raw meat, make a test – bite cooked minced meat, if its consistence is a bit elastic = it’s cooked through. If it reminds paste = it’s raw.

Anyway if your oven works fine, 40 min. at 180°C enough for such thin patties.

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