Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stuffed marrow, or is it zucchini!?

We have a lovely set of neighbours in our sweet little neighbourhood, and they often do kind things for us, like wedding soup when we're poorly, made an amazing Easter cake for the children, hand out cookies when we pass by on our walks around the neighbourhood and even decorate their yard especially for our children, since our circle is private and there is no reason traffic passes through unless you live here.

So anyways, they always have a super impressive garden full of delicious veggies and some fruits, but their zucchinis are the bomb. They are unbelieveably good, and did I mention HUGE!? 
When we got on the other day I decided to do a throw back to my childhood when my mum would make stuffed marrows for us. It's such a rustic, yummy dish, and so inoffensive, you have to like it. It also does not have to be meat either, so it's a vegetarian option too! Yay veggies!!
Ok, so to answer a question that i've been asking ever since I realised Americans claim to not have "marrows",  and our little lost in translation moment between zucchini and courgette. I did a little research. In fact, it IS what I thought.
The term zucchini comes from Italian, "zucchino" and you guys changed it up a bit. They are usually harvested around 15cm (5-6inches) long. The term courgette comes from the French, "courgette" (at least we didn't change ours by one letter! What's that about!?) They are more of the "baby" of the bunch, and are harvested "young" and about 14cm. BOTH come from the same plant, they are the essentially SAME thing.
Now for the term marrow. I have had many a discussion about this and been told i'm wrong countless times, but now after research I KNOW i'm right. Ah, the feeling of knowing your right. Bliss.
Marrow IS from the zucchini/courgette plant. It IS the same. It is simply a different stage of growth. Marrows are the semi-mature fruits which have reached full size. Meaning, they are as big as they'll get, but could stay on the plant longer, they just probably wouldn't taste too good.
Marrows are the BEST for stuffing as there is more vegetable to use. A full grown can be upwards of 38cm (that's 15inches!!!)
Ours was actually about 15 inches long, and here is the recipe I made up to use it!

Stuffed Marrow/Zucchini 

One large marrow (you could use zuc. but it might be a bit more fiddly!)
A jar of Home-made or store bought tomato basil sauce
1lb of organic minced beef/lamb or sausage meat
Vegetarian: Use any meat substitute (quorn etc), in a minced/diced style
One medium onion, diced
One chopped yellow pepper diced
Fresh chopped garlic
Your favourite herb mix. I love organic all-purpose from Krogers
salt and pepper to taste
Feta cheese (or your favourite type of cheese)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Put a large pot filled with water on boil.
2. Slice the zucchini in half and dig out the insides till about 3/4 inch depth is left. DO NOT THROW THE INSIDES AWAY!! Take the insides and dice as well as you can, it can be a little mushy, but that is fine. Set those aside.
3. Once water has boiled take the zucchinis and dunk them for about a minute. I turned mine after a minute as they would not fully immerse since they were so big. While they are softening, get your large baking dish (mine is the white one in the pictures) and pour in enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish and then place your zucchini halves in there and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. In a sauce pan saute the onions, peppers and garlic along with the inside of the zucchini that you had set aside and then brown the meat or whatever vegetarian sub. you are using.
5. Add the remainder of the tomato basil sauce to the meat and veggie mix. Add your herb mix here, to however you like the taste. Salt and pepper to taste too! Remember seasoning is important, but it's also down to taste! Just don't over salt, there is no need!!
6. Take the sauce you have just made and stuff into the softened zucchinis. Once stuffed sprinkle with your choice of cheese and feel free to add a smattering of worcestershire sauce on top if you like that little punch of flavour!
7. Place in oven, covered with tin foil, for around 20-30 minutes. Since all marrows are different in size you should keep an eye on yours to make sure they don't overcook. Cook just until browned on top. If you prefer it a little crispy, then pop the broiler on for a last blast under the flames.
 The voila!! You are done! It is AMAZING. A lot of people don't like to add the insides, and i'm truly not sure why. It's amaaazing! No need for eggs and bread crumbs etc. Those are unnecessary heavy ingredients!
{Excuse the cell phone pics, I was feeling a little lazy!}

Thank you Shirley and Phil Prosperi for your donations to our big family. You have NO idea how much it helps, and you helped inspire a new favourite meal for us all now.
They really are the sweetest people and they are the type of people who restore your faith in genuinely kind and good people. We just adore them!

Bon Appetit, my friends!

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