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13.07.2017

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A low carb meal using up some of the gorgeous courgettes (zucchini) that are all around at this time of year. The meat is minced chicken thigh for extra flavour, and the topping is a delicious Greek yoghurt “béchamel” with cheese.

Courgette (Zucchini) Boats with Chicken and Greek Yoghurt “Bechamel” www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A side view of a metal colander containing three courgettes, the tops of which are visible.

I’m sure you’ve seen courgette (zucchini) boats before. They are all over Pinterest and it seems they are a very popular dish, in one version or another.

Courgette (Zucchini) Boats with Chicken and Greek Yoghurt “Bechamel” www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: The courgettes, halved and with their flesh scooped out, lying in a glass baking dish. To the side, a chopping board with some leftover flesh and a small spoon on it.
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Courgette (Zucchini) Boats with Chicken and Greek Yoghurt “Bechamel” www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: the courgette boats with the meat sauce inside the cavities. A small spoon lies on one of the boats, still with some meat sauce on it. A bowl of leftover sauce sits to the right of the baking dish. To the left, a couple of eggs and a bowl of yoghurt (barely visible)

Usually the topping is plain cheese, which is always great if you ask me. But I thought I could take this up a notch, adding a richer topping that resembles béchamel sauce. I didn’t go with regular béchamel as the point was to keep the recipe light and healthy, so I opted for an alternative I’ve used quite often in the past. Greek yoghurt and eggs. This mixture is gorgeously tangy, and bakes really well into a firm creamy topping. Add some grated cheese and… yum.

Courgette (Zucchini) Boats with Chicken and Greek Yoghurt “Bechamel” www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: the courgette boats already stuffed and topped with the bechamel sauce. Cheese is scattered on top and there is a bowl of extra cheese next to the dish, together with a grater and a large piece of kaseri.

These courgette boats are very simple to make and you can watch a short video over on the Greek side of the blog to see the procedure and what they look like just out of the oven. Seriously, they are very easy!

If you look at the ingredient list you’ll notice that the dish is quite low in carbs, making it a perfect idea for dinner if you are following any of the diets that require you to give up pasta, rice, grains etc. It’s tasty and healthy and will fill you up even if eaten only with a salad. If however you aren’t on a diet, you can enjoy these yummy zucchini boats with some fresh crusty bread, rice, or even some chips (by chips I mean French fries, not crisps!).

Courgette (Zucchini) Boats with Chicken and Greek Yoghurt “Bechamel” www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: The baking dish with the courgette boats just out of the oven. The top is crispy and golden, with some fresh parsley scattered on it to decorate. To the top left a couple of stacked plates with a napkin on them and some knives and forks. To the top right a bowl of chopped parsley.

The boats don’t have a runny sauce -they could even be picked up with your fingers- so if you want a juicier version you can add a layer of tomato pasta sauce to the bottom of the baking dish before arranging the courgettes in it.

Courgette (Zucchini) Boats with Chicken and Greek Yoghurt “Bechamel” www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A courgette boat on a pretty plate. A piece has been cut away with a fork and it’s lying at an angle to the boat. Some of the meat sauce has fallen out and is visible at the tip of the fork with is also lying on the plate.

Have you ever made zucchini boats? What’s your favourite version?

Ingredients

For the courgettes:

6 courgettes/zucchini, large (not giant!)

1 Tbs olive oil

650gr minced chicken meat, ideally from thigh

400gr tinned tomatoes with onion

1 Tbs tomato paste

3 Tbs parsley, finely chopped + extra to garnish

1 ½ tsp thyme, dried

1 ½ tsp sweet paprika

1 ½ tsp salt

¾ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

½ tsp sugar

1 Tbs balsamic cream (reduction)

For the Greek yoghurt bechamel:

600gr Greek yoghurt (or Greek style strained yoghurt), I used 2% fat

3 eggs

150gr kasseri cheese, grated (or use other melty cheese you like)

Show me more ideas and suggestions

The zucchini flesh isn’t used in the recipe, so you could keep it for a nice frittata (make sure to squeeze the water out), or patties.

Step 1

Cut the courgettes/zucchini lengthwise without chopping off the ends. Take out as much of the flesh as possible using a small spoon (if you have a slightly pointy one that would be great). Reserve the flesh for another recipe. Put the courgette boats into a baking dish so that they are snug but not squashed.

Step 2

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil on high. Add the minced chicken and stir quickly and persistently so that you break up all the lumps.

Step 3

When you don’t see any more pink on the meat (that should be after about 2 minutes), add the tomatoes. Rinse the tin with a tablespoon of water and add that too, followed by the tomato paste. Stir well.

Step 4

When the mixture comes to the boil, add the parsley, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper and sugar to the pan and stir. Turn the heat to medium and let the sauce cook till thickened, about 10 minutes. It should be quite dry. At the end, add the balsamic cream.

Step 5

Preheat the oven to 180C fan (200C conventional). Fill the courgette/zucchini boats with the meat sauce, pressing the filling down to even it out.

Step 6

Beat the Greek yoghurt, eggs and 100gr of kasseri cheese in a bowl. Spoon the mixture over the stuffed boats and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Step 7

Bake for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 160C fan (180C conventional) and leave it for another 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Turn the dish around midway if necessary for even colour.

The Greek side of this post is sponsored. All opinions are my own.

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