The holiday of Sukkot is associated with the fall harvest, and serving stuffed foods is a symbolic and flavorful way to represent the bounty of the season. A departure from more traditional stuffed foods, these stuffed prunes combine sweet and savory, and make a wonderful start to a festive meal.
3 Tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
2 Tablespoons choped mint
3 Tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 dried apricots, finely minced
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 lb ground lamb or beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
20 large, moist prunes, pitted
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions to skillet and cook, stirring, until onions are golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic during last 2 minutes of cooking. Add beef or lamb and cook, stirring often to separate clumps, until just cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Add honey, apricots, cinnamon, chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add parsley, mint and pine nuts, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Let mixture cool. Using a small spoon, stuff each prune with about 1 tablespoon meat mixture, packing down the filling with your index finger. Place prunes in a glass baking dish. Combine tomato sauce and chicken stock and pour over prunes. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature, with tomato sauce spooned on top.
Note: To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, substitute kasha or bulgur for the ground meat.