Marrow, fennel and tomato stew

There is a tale in here, as to how I had a good marrow. Susannah had four ailing wee plants, she said they were squash plants, could she plant them in the open in my garden. I was a bit doubtful, I have never had much success with growing curcurbits in the open in South Uist. The plants weren’t great either. 

I planted out the best three, and one died. Now, in September, when the gales are beginning, they are flowering, and they appear to be courgette plants. I have a few tiny courgettes. I left the first one to get big, thinking it was a squash plant, and I ended up with a small marrow, weighing about 1 kilo. Marrows are just big courgettes. 

So I made this stew. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small marrow, or 1kg of large courgettes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 50ml dry sherry or dry white wine
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, or 500g of tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar

METHOD:

  • Halve the marrow lengthways, and remove any seeds. Chop into chunks, arrange in a colander on a plate and salt it so that excess moisture is removed
  • Heat the olive oil over a medium heat, and add the rosemary and fennel, frying this for a couple of minutes
  • Add the onions, chilli and fennel, and gently fry for around 10 minutes
  • Add the garlic, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Drain the water off the marrow, and add to the pan with a good grating of pepper, and cook, stirring regularly for another ten minutes. I usually read a book and stir after every couple of pages. 
  • Add the sherry or wine, and stir to mix all the juices together, and let this simmer down and reduce before adding the chopped tomatoes and wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook at a very low temperature for around half an hour. 
  • Adjust the seasoning, and then serve garnished with oregano and rosemary. It might need a bit of salt, and it works well to let it sit and develop. 

This can be customised. Try adding a tin of beans with the chopped tomatoes, or some capers. Some waxy potatoes, cut into cubes works well. I have reheated it with a layer of sliced potatoes on top, baked as a pie. 

Yesterday evening, I served it with a grilled pork chop, pitta bread and goat’s cheese. 

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