Mediterranean stuffed marrow
By Jessica – September 22nd, 2010
Summer is coming to its inevitable end, and the tender, juicy veggies of the warmer months are giving way to the sturdier veggies of the colder ones.
Enter the mighty marrow, the missing link between the vegetables of summer and the vegetables of fall. With the looks of an overgrown zucchini but some of the texture of a wintery squash, marrows neatly bridge the gap between the seasons.
Though marrows can be prepared in pretty much all the ways you might prepare zucchini or other summer squash, their size and shape make them ideal for stuffing and baking. Consequently, stuffed marrow recipes are a dime a dozen. Most of them, however, seem to revolve around sausage, breadcrumbs, cheese and/or tomato sauce. Goodness knows I’m not one to spurn any of those ingredients, but if summer is still clinging on by the tips of its fingers, you may want a lighter, more exotic treatment for your marrow; save the sausage and cheese for cold October nights.
My vegetarian take on the stuffed marrow has an eastern Mediterranean feel to it. In place of ground meat, it features fragrant basmati rice studded with raisins, olives and mushrooms, along with flaked almonds for crunch. Add a dollop of thick yogurt (maybe with some lemon juice and olive oil swirled through it), and you’ll have everything you need to see you through a cool late-summer evening.
For 2 to 4 people (depending on what else you serve with it), you’ll need:
- one medium marrow, 800-900 grams (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
- a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms
- about 1 cup cooked basmati rice
- a handful of raisins
- a handful of green olives
- a handful of toasted flaked almonds (or pine nuts)
- Greek yogurt to serve
Cut the marrow in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the cottony, seedy middle bit. Scrape out most of the marrow flesh and set it aside, leaving about half a centimeter’s worth in the skin for stability.
Pre-bake the empty marrow shells for about 10 minutes, cut side down, on a baking tray greased with olive oil. When the ten minutes are up, take the marrow shells out of the oven, turn them over, sprinkle some salt and pepper into them and set them aside. Don’t turn off the oven though!
In a wide frying pan, heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the ground coriander and cumin and fry the spices for a minute until they’re fragrant, then add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute it for about five minutes. Stir in the garlic, turn the heat up and throw in the marrow flesh and sliced mushrooms with another sprinkling of salt and some pepper. Cook all of this, stirring frequently, for another five minutes or so, until most of the mushroom and marrow juices have cooked off.
Turn off the heat and mix the rice, raisins, olives and almonds into the vegetables in the frying pan. Check the seasoning, then spoon the filling into the marrow shells. Drizzle over a little more olive oil, then bake the filled marrow for 10 to 15 minutes, until the marrow shell is tender and the rice filling is just starting to get crispy on top.
Serve the stuffed marrow along with creamy Greek yogurt and a zingy salad or two.