Pic of Spiced lamb courgettes with apricot and pine nut couscous

Spiced lamb courgettes with apricot and pine nut couscous

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Meat mains

Spiced lamb courgettes with apricot and pine nut couscous

Main Serves 2 45 min
Stuffed courgettes may seem like a bit of a '70s throwback but they are good vehicle for almost all types of filling. A brief spell in a hot oven will make them soft enough to hollow out by simply dragging a teaspoon through the middle. Don't waste the flesh, add it back into the stuffing for extra flavour. I have chosen to use a Moroccan style filling here, but this would be a great way to use up leftover chilli or Bolognese sauce. Ricotta, breadcrumbs and basil would make a lighter veggie alternative.

Cook's notes

Our apricots are unsulphured, and darker in colour than apricots you may have come across before.


  • 3 courgettes
  • olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300g lamb mince
  • lamb spice pot containing:
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 150g couscous
  • 60g dried apricots
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 30g mint
  • salt and pepper
Image of Spiced lamb courgettes with apricot and pine nut couscous


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 40 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Split the courgettes in half lengthways. Place them in the baking tray, flesh side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with
  • Step 2

    salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the flesh has softened and become tender.
  • Step 3

    While the courgettes bake, peel and finely chop or crush 2 garlic cloves. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the frying pan until nearly smoking hot. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and add it to the pan. Fry for 5 minutes until it is nicely coloured and browned.
  • Step 4

    Add the lamb spice pot and garlic to the lamb and fry for a further 2 minutes. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and harissa. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes. Add a dash of water if it looks like it may dry out too much. While the lamb cooks, put a kettle on to boil. In a heatproof bowl mix the couscous with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Step 5

    Tip enough boiling water into the bowl to just cover the couscous. Cover the bowl tightly with clingfilm. Coarsely chop the dried apricots. Put them in a cup and cover with boiling water to plump them up. When the courgettes are ready remove them from the oven.
  • Step 6

    Using the tip of a teaspoon, scrape out the softer core of the courgettes until you've removed about half the flesh. Roughly chop the flesh you have removed and add it to the lamb. Mix the lamb mix together well. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Step 7

    Pile the lamb mix into the hollowed courgettes. Place back into the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes until tender. Give the pan you cooked the lamb in a quick clean. Return it to the heat. Add the pine nuts and toast them in the dry pan, moving them constantly, until just beginning to brown. Be careful not to burn them. Wash half mint. Shake dry and remove the leaves.
  • Step 8

    Shred them finely. Remove the clingfilm from the couscous. Fluff the grains up with a fork to separate them. Drain the apricots and add them to the couscous along with the pine nuts and chopped mint. Season to taste.
  • Step 9

    Remove the baked courgettes from the oven. Serve with the fruity couscous. Boil your kettle again. Stuff the remaining mint into a teapot, pour in the water and enjoy a light mint tea with your meal.

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