until today i didn’t know that marrows, which i tend to think of as overgrown courgettes, are members of the squash family. or cucurbita family to use the botanical name. other members include gourds, pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers, melons and loofahs.
having bought a marrow at the farmshop i visited last week, cooking them was something else i needed to learn.
stuffing seems to be the most recommended way of dealing with marrows, which are often watery and flavourless, so that’s what i did! i bit of experimentation in the kitchen and i came up with what was a very easy and tasty vegetarian supper which i will definitely make again.
stuffed marrow (serves 3 polite people. or 2 very hungry ones)
1 large marrow
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
300g cooked brown rice
50g hot pepperdew peppers, chopped (or use 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped)
handful fresh basil, shredded
125g strong cheddar, grated
heat oven to 200c.
cut the marrow in half lengthways and, using a tablespoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. scoop out a little more of the marrow flesh – about 4-6 tablespoons – chop this roughly and place to one side. rub the inside and outside of the marrow with olive oil and place in a large oiled ovenproof dish.
put the butter plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. when the butter melts add the onions and peppers and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes, until soft and caramelised (the onions shouldn’t brown).
add the chopped marrow flesh, garlic and pepperdew peppers (or chilli) and cook for a few more minutes until you can start to smell the garlic. take the onion mix off the heat and add the brown rice, basil and 100g of the cheddar.
use the rice mix to fill the marrow cases, packing it in quite tightly. sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 35 minutes until the marrow is cooked (check by piercing it with a sharp knife, the skin and flesh should be soft). serve with a green salad and some warm bread.
* to make this dish vegan, exclude the butter and cheese. add a handful of nuts (toasted pine nuts would be particularly good, i think) to the rice mix.
* i think rosemary or tarragon would be good herbs to use instead of basil (reduce the quantity though as they are more strongly flavoured)
* cubes of roasted squash would be a good addition to the rice mixture. as would cooked green/ or puy lentils. or pieces of smoked bacon/pancetta.