I don’t think I’d ever eaten a marrow before until now. It’s one of those vegetables that everyone has heard of but you just don’t see for sale anywhere, or at least not in supermarkets these days. I imagine it was different in the past. Marrows were probably one of those vegetables people lived off. Also, why pick them as courgettes when you could wait a couple of weeks and have 6 times the amount of food? Maybe that’s why they have somehow fallen out of favour in recent years.
The only reason I ended up with this marrow was that I was looking for courgettes to pick at Garsons pick-your-own but it seemed everyone else had got there first. There were almost no courgettes but quite a lot of marrows. It seems that even when you can pick them yourself they suffer in the popularity stakes. I decided I should get one to try, but I have to admit to keeping it in the fridge for almost a week before I could decide what to do with it.
I was thinking of doing some kind of spicy minced beef and rice stuffing but then I forgot to buy the mince when I was shopping. I looked in my cupboard for inspiration and came across a couple of almost empty packets or rice, one basmati and one Spanish rice. I also had a half-used ring of chorizo sausage in the fridge and that’s how this turned into a more Spanish flavoured dish.
I was expecting to like the stuffing but I wasn’t sure if I’d like the marrow. I expected it to be a bit watery and bland. Well, it wasn’t watery and it absorbed the flavours of the rice so it was actually really really tasty. I loved it. It would make a perfect base for any strong flavoured stuffing, although I imagine that it would be very bland if not cooked well.
I thought I’d be eating up the marrow for days as my husband doesn’t like courgettes or squashes so I expected him not to like this either. Well, it might not have been his favourite dish ever but he was quite happy to eat it for two days in a row. I’m now hoping to go back and pick a couple more marrows if I can before the season ends. I am most definitely a marrow convert now.
Ingredients – serves 6
200g chorizo, sliced into chunky slices
1 large onion, chopped
1 chilli pepper, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 aubergine, cubed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp turmeric or use a thread of saffron if you have it
500ml chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken)
How to Make Spanish Rice Stuffed Marrow
1. Cut the marrow in half lengthways, remove the soft middle by scraping it out with a spoon and then put the marrow on a baking tray. Season it and drizzle with olive oil then place in the oven at 180C for an hour.
2. Cook the chorizo in a saucepan until it releases it’s oil and begins to go a little crispy. Add the onions and chilli pepper. When the onions are soft, add the garlic. Cook for a minute and then add the rest of the vegetables, the herbs and spices, and the rice. Stir in.
3. Add about 3/4 of the stock. Cover and leave to simmer gently. After 15 minutes check it and stir in the rest of the stock if necessary.
4. Spoon the filling into the marrow. You might not be able to fit all the stuffing in. Return the stuffed marrows to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes. The extra stuffing can be served alongside the marrows or for anyone who doesn’t like marrow and just wants the stuffing.