If you are lucky enough to have an allotment, or have friends who do, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to eat home grown, seasonal vegetables. My Mum recently brought me a load of vegetables from an array that she was given from a friend’s allotment. Eating my way through the runner beans, beetroot, courgette and potatoes was easy work, however, the huge marrow remained untouched on my kitchen table for almost two weeks. Whilst it is from the same family as the courgette, the sheer size of the marrow left me a little daunted as to how to even begin to make something interestingly edible from it. Upon Googling for ideas, I decided to devise my own hybrid stuffed marrow recipe which captured the best bits of all of them, that was quick and easy to do, and that was cheap to make. So, here you are…
Stuffed Marrow Recipe
To stuff one large marrow, which would make approximately 4 large servings or 6-8 smaller ones (if serving alongside salad or vegetables), you need the following:
600 grams chopped tomatoes (from a tin/carton)
3 dessertspoons tomato puree
2 large or 3 medium sized white onions, finely chopped
3 large field mushrooms, or 80 grams of button mushrooms, finely chopped
Tin of cannellini beans
4 garlic gloves, crushed
Dessertspoon mixed herbs
Drizzle of olive oil
Dessertspoon (approximately) smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Two slices of bread/pitta (can be slightly stale), breadcrumbed
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.
Wash the outside of the marrow and then with a sharp knife, cut it down the middle lengthways.
With a spoon, remove the seeds so the two halves of the marrow have a hollow groove in them. Arrange on a baking tray, hollow side facing up.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and then fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until they are translucent.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir over a low heat for a further 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and add the tomato puree, stirring well.
Add the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed garlic, salt, and stir. I advise you do a taste test at this point and add further seasoning if required. I love spicy food and smoked paprika is one of my favourite spices so I tend to be quite liberal in adding both the cayenne and the smoked paprika.
Add the herbs to season and stir well.
Once happy with the seasoning in the sauce, drain and add the cannellini beans, stir well. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon into the hollows of the marrow halves.
Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the sauce and bake for a further 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted.
Serve a generous portion as a filling and hearty meal in its own right, or a smaller serving alongside salad or seasonal vegetables.
If you feel like a treat and want to push the boat out, fry some pancetta in a frying pan (no oil required) for 5-7 minutes until crispy, and sprinkle over the top. Absolutely delicious!
How much does it cost to make?
Hopefully you have some friends, or friends of friends, who have some home-grown marrows that they need to shift, in which case cooking the vegetarian version of this stuffed marrow (without pancetta) costs around £3.50 for between 4-8 servings (depending on whether it is served with accompaniments or not). If buying a marrow, these can usually be purchased for between £1.00-£1.50.
How long does the cooked dish keep?
If kept refrigerated, the stuffed marrow can keep for 4-5 days after baking.
Can I make up a big batch to freeze and eat later?
Due to the water content of marrow, I wouldn’t recommend freezing this dish as I think it could defrost to become quite mushy. So I’d advise keeping it in the fridge and picking away at it each day! Can be reheated in the microwave or oven so could easily be packed up to take to work for lunch.
Are there any suggested variations on the recipe given here?
Absolutely! Essentially, the recipe here is for a tomato sauce to stuff the marrow with, and so outside of the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree, you could add an array of spices to give different depths of flavour, and choose a medley of chopped vegetables, perhaps including peppers, spinach, aubergine. You could use any type of bean or you could try lentils, or mincemeat, for the protein element. As stated above, a particularly decadent option would be to add fried pancetta to sprinkle over the top.
How long does it take to make?
Preparation time is approximately 10-20 minutes, followed by 40 minutes for the stuffed marrow to bake.