Our good friend, master baker and veg grower Nick treated me to a guided tour of his fabulous garden the other day, and I came away with, amongst other things, a huge marrow. What the hell to do with it? It stared at me accusingly for a day or two; I opened the paper on Saturday and behold! A recipe for marrow attached to a rather sweet story about a single mum of two reclaiming a scruffy patch of garden to grow veg. Her kids had a hand in taming it and together they planted runner beans, tomatoes and marrows. This became one of their fave family meals. And now one of mine. The meat mix is like a ragu; tastes better made the day before and fridged overnight – gives it a greater depth of flavour.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 crushed cloves of garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
100g potatoes, cubed
100g butternut squash (optional)
50g mushrooms, sliced
Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to season
3 tbs parmesan cheese
Lightly fry the onion and garlic in vegetable oil. Add the cumin & mince. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, squash, herbs, mushrooms and tinned toms (and a splash or two of water if it looks as if it needs a bit more moisture). Season with salt and pepper. Put a lid on the pan and cook slowly for 30-40 mins.
Cut both ends off the marrow. Scrape out the seeds and any woodiness in the flesh. Pop in a big pan of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain and place in a big dish. Fill the marrow boats with the ragu mix, sprinkle with parmesan and bake in a medium oven for about an hour.
Serve with new potatoes and another veg from your (or someone else’s) garden (or in our case, some steamed, tender pak choi from the Chinese stall in the market!)