Lebanese Kousa (Koosa)

This dish is a slow cooked Sunday dinner at Grandma ‘s house. Kousa is the Lebanese word for squash. Seasoned ground beef and quinoa (rice is traditional) stuffed in summer squash. Middle eastern spices, allspice, cinnamon, and Aleppo pepper, bring warmth to the dish. The tomato sauce and lemon bring acid. I hope you like it.

4 yellow squash, cored (I used a melon baller)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (cayenne pepper will do)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons chives
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350.

In a saucepan on medium high heat add water and quinoa and stir. Add butter and salt. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce to low and cook for 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan on medium, add olive oil and onions. Cook for 5 minutes and add garlic. Remove from pan.

In a bowl mix cinnamon, salt, pepper, paprika, both peppers, and allspice.

In a two-quart saucepan on medium add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice.

Add 1/2 of spice mix to tomatoes.

In the onion pan on medium, add ground beef and second half of the spice mixture. Brown ground beef. Add the onions and cooked quinoa and mix.

Stuff the squash with hamburger quinoa mixture.

In a 13 x 9 baking sheet add 1/3 of tomato sauce.

Add squash to pan in the middle and remaining hamburger quinoa mixture

Cover with tomato sauce.

Add baking dish to oven and bake for 45-55 minutes until squash is softened.

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