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Zucchini Musakka with Chickpeas and Spiced Lamb
© Frances Janisch

Zucchini Musakka with Chickpeas and Spiced Lamb

  • ACTIVE: 25 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 50 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • HEALTHY
  • MAKE-AHEAD

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.

  1. 2 quarts water
  2. Kosher salt
  3. 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  4. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1/4 pound ground lamb
  6. 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  8. 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons tomato paste blended with 1/4 cup water
  10. 1 1/2 tablespoons Turkish sweet red pepper paste (see Note) or mild chile sauce
  11. 3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  12. Freshly ground pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  14. 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  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.
Notes Turkish sweet red pepper paste is available at Middle Eastern markets.