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Don’t be afraid to stuff it up

Tasting

SQUASH SURPRISE Courgettes and marrows, both squashes, are delicious stuffed and baked.

Food
Red Cabot

“Superfood is actually a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits…” So reads our friend Wikipedia, so no actual factual basis in that marketing term, Bah! How many silly fads and trends will we be sucked into before we realise all natural foods are super silly? Foods in their original forms contain all their essential nutrients and as such, can be used as the building blocks for a healthy body and mind; the key is to eat the foods in a natural state, not when they’ve been processed and denuded of their inherent goodness.
Here is an under-used recipe for stuffed marrow or courgettes, which are now in season. It’s fun, simple and visually attractive – and because you are using fresh and local produce where possible, its also healthful. How super.

Sausage-stuffed courgette or marrow
This serving will give you enough for a dinner party or an al fresco lunch. You can either use one massive marrow or several smaller courgettes.

What you need
> 1.5kg marrow/courgettes

Stuffing
> 1 white onion chopped
> Oil
> 2 medium carrots peeled, diced
> 1 tin tomatoes
> 150ml red wine
> 300ml veg stock
> 500-600g sausage meat (roughly ten medium sausages)
> 2 garlic cloves peeled, crushed
> 2 celery stalks diced
> 1 tsp of dried chilli
> Oregano
> Flour
> 1 bay leaf

Cheese sauce
> 20g butter
> 20g plain flour
> 250ml milk
> 25-40g grated/chopped cheese (harder the better)
> seasoning

What you do
To make the stuffing, heat some oil in a non-stick pan, and fry the onions, carrots and celery until softened; I like to add a knob of butter half-way through. Add the garlic and sausage meat, and cook for four to five minutes, stirring with a  wooden spoon. Add the dried flavourings, including the flour, and stir in well to cook for one minute. Now stir in the red wine, vegetable stock, bay leaf and tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until well integrated and thickened.
For the cheese sauce, melt the butter (without burning) in a heavy-bottomed pot, stir in the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. When it’s all absorbed, I still like to ‘cook it out’ for another minute (no burning!). Then it’s a steady hand to pour in the milk as it’s absorbed. Keep stirring for even sauce consistency. When you are happy it’s all mixed and integrated well, add your seasoning (freshly grated black pepper goes well here). Lastly, add your cheese, and stir/melt well.
Now, slice your washed marrow or courgettes in half lengthways. Scoop out the soft centre and seeds with a spoon. Lay these on individual tin-foil pieces with enough foil to wrap around the courgettes/marrow on a baking tray.
Fill the centres in with the stuffing, leaving enough space to accommodate the cheese sauce. once the stuffing has been added, pour the cheese sauce over it. Seal the marrow/courgettes in the tin foil and bake in a preheated oven at 185 degrees centigrade. Give it one hour if you’re using just one large marrow, or about half an hour if you’re using several smaller courgettes.
Serve with a side salad and relish the rich tapestry of flavours and textures.

> Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.

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