Zucchini Musakka with Chickpeas and Spiced Lamb

Musa Dagdeviren cleverly adapts a classic recipe from the town of Kilis in southeastern Turkey: He soaks the zucchini in a saltwater bath, so it stays green and crisp even after it's cooked.


Slideshow: More Amazing Lamb Recipes


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  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 quarts water
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound ground lamb
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste blended with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Turkish sweet red pepper paste (see Note) or mild chile sauce
  • 3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large bowl, combine the water and 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and stir until dissolved. Add the zucchini and let soak for 25 minutes. Drain.

  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the lamb and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until no pink remains, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, diluted tomato paste and the red pepper paste and simmer for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with the parsley and mint and serve warm or at room temperature.


Turkish sweet red pepper paste is available at Middle Eastern markets.

Contributed By Photo © Frances Janisch Published July 2004

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