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.
- 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
- 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.
I kind of made this up, basing the flavours on a vegetarian recipe that I have. There may be edits as I try out tweaking the recipe. It was good enough the first time, though.
- Approx. 200g onion, chopped
- 200g pancetta (or streaky bacon) (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or lard
- 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp caraway, lightly crushed
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 300 to 400g beef, cut into cubes
- 300ml beef stock
- 300ml tub of sour cream
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (or use small salad potatoes, around 200g)
- Set the oven to 160℃
- In a large oven-safe casserole pan, fry the pancetta until crispy on the outside, and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until golden yellow and soft
- Add the paprika and caraway seed, and stir into the onions, around 15 seconds.
- Add the meat and stir to brown the meat on all sides as well as coating it with paprika
- Add the stock, bacon, tomato puree, black pepper, salt to taste, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and put the pan into the oven for around 2½ hours
- Add the peeled chopped potatoes, and check the seasoning, and then cook for another half an hour or so, until the potatoes are cooked. You can add other vegetables as well, such as carrots, or celeriac, if you wish. If the stew is not thick enough for your taste, simmer on the stove top with the lid off, to reduce it down.
- Stir in the sour cream, and garnish with chopped parsley to serve.
Oh, this is so delicious, I would cook it every week if I had enough local lamb. I got the basic recipe from ‘Dear Francesca‘ but adapted it to use some ingredients that I already had.
- 2 to 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 1 kg (+) gigot chops (or other chops) or lamb shoulder – trim the chops of fat,
- salt and black pepper
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pinches of dried thyme, or 1 tsp of Italian dried herbs
- 1 tbsp red pepper paste
- 200ml stock or water
- 8 small new potatoes, or 4 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks.
- In a large casserole dish, heat the olive oil, and fry the garlic and onion over a low low heat for ten minutes.
- Set the onions aside, and fry the meat in the olive oil to seal it.
- Return the onions and garlic to the pan, and add the tinned tomatoes, pepper paste and herbs. Bring to a simmer.
- Cook in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes. At this stage, the stew can be frozen or kept in the fridge to finish cooking alter.
- Add the potatoes to the pan, and the extra stock if required, and cook on the stove top until the potatoes are cooked (about half an hour or so)
And you’re done! The book suggests chicken or beef versions of the same stew, but with lamb it is just glorious. We served it with a green side salad.
This recipe is probably not that authentic, but it is based on a US recipe for a Moroccan stew. I have adapted it to use locally available ingredients and metric measures. I feel very strongly that if we are to eat meat at all, it should be local, and there should be no waste. This ‘nose to tail’ approach covers ingredients that are not commonly available in supermarkets, but can be acquired locally, before they are discarded.
Before you start, be aware that this recipe requires marinating overnight, and a slow cook the next day, so not a quick cook. I managed to set the oven onto automatic, so it was ready when I came home.
- 6 lamb hearts
- 100ml good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 100g sliced dried apricots
- 2 medium onions, sliced thickly
- 50g chopped black olives
- 500ml stock
- 4 large carrots (or squash or pumpkin or sweet potato) in 1 inch chunks
- Prepare the hearts. cut away the coronary arteries around the top of the heart, as well as the auricles (small flaps at the top) and then cut the muscle into 1 inch chunks, or as close as possible. Put them in a sealable container and add the marinade ingredients as you prepare them.
- Grind the fennel seed in a mortar and pestle, and add this to the lamb hearts along with the cumin, coriander and turmeric.
- Add the grated ginger, crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well together. Seal the container and put it in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, slice the onions into thick slices. Fry in olive oil, over a low heat, for around ten minutes, until soft and brown, and transfer to a casserole dish.
- Remove the meat from the marinade, and fry in the same pan to brown it, and then add it to the casserole dish.
- Add the vegetables, stock, the marinade, cinnamon stick and bay leaves to the pan, and bring this to a simmer, check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook at 180C for 2 hours. Remove the cover for the second hour, to reduce the gravy a little.
- I garnished this with chopped parsley and coriander.
This is an Italian recipe from Elizabeth David’s classic, ‘Italian Food’. It is delicious even if not cooked perfectly. I was very lucky and bought some really good quality hogget from West Gerinish, very tender, very tasty. I also used the mystery herbs – called ‘herbs for meat’ or ‘Italian seasoning’, possibly.
- About 900g to 1kg lamb cut in one piece from the leg.
- A couple of carrots, chopped
- A stick of celery, chopped
- an onion, chopped
- Chopped turnip, about the same volume as the carrot
- Rind of 1 sweet orange
- Juice of half the orange
- 1 tsp coriander seed
- 1 tbsp mystery herbs, or use oregano or marjoram
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 can of chopped tomato
- 2 glasses sweet white wine (or one of table wine, one of marsala)
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A splash of balsamic vinegar
- About 200ml stock (vegetable, chicken or lamb)
- Chop a clove of garlic finely, and rub it into the meat along with a handful of the mystery herbs, salt and pepper.
- Brown the meat in a little oil in a casserole dish, and then set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the chopped onion slowly in the onion, and then add the garlic, and the rest of the chopped vegetables, garlic, coriander and orange rind, and cook until softened.
- Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer then add the meat and white wine, and salt and pepper, and 200ml of stock. The meat should cook on a bed of vegetable stew, slowly roasting in the steam.
- Cover and simmer gently for two hours. This works better in a low oven. Keep an eye on the stew to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.
- At the end of cooking, squeeze the juice of half an orange over the meat and let it settle before serving.
We are eating the last of the beef we got from Dr Louise, from cattle grazed on Askernish Machair. I made this last week, so easy. It is from #CookforSyria, a recipe book that I bought two years ago. The website link also tells you a little bit more about the creation of CookforSyria, a celebration of Syrian food culture, and a fund-raiser for Unicef.
This dish is meant to be cooked in a single pot, as part of a barbecue, picnic or other al-fresco dining event.
- 500g beef, cubed
- 100g suet, beef fat or other cooking fat
- 2 aubergines, cubed
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 125ml of Arak (or Raki, or Ouzo)
- salt and pepper
- In the pot, cover the beef in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Any stock that is produced can be used for other dishes.
- Take the beef out of the water, and reserve the stock for another day. In the pan, fry the beef fat for a few minutes then add the chopped vegetables and the beef. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock from earlier.
- Cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, and then add the Arak, and simmer for a further five minutes.
- Serve with flat bread and/or rice.
This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large white/yellow onion
- 450g beef, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 firm peaches
- 20g butter
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Tiny pinch of saffron
- chopped pistachio nuts
- Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
- Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown.
- Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated.
- Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender.
- Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
- When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water.
- Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
- Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice.
We were given a marrow, a vegetable that I am not that confident with. We made stuffed marrow rings, and I didn’t get it right, so you’ll need to wait for a more successful version. Just to say that the marrow was not well-cooked. The redeeming feature was this stew, which I made to be the stuffing. We ended up eating it with couscous.
- 250g chicken
- 1 onion
- 1 green pepper
- 250g mushrooms
- vegetable oil
- 1 can chopped tomatos
- 500ml stock
- 2 tsp cornflour (I mixed marigold stock powder with the cornflour before adding water)
- salt and pepper
- a good pinch of paprika
- a good handful of chopped mint and dill (or 1 tsp each of dried mint and dill)
- Prepare all the ingredients. Chop the chicken into small pieces. Chop the onion finely. Core the pepper, remove the seeds and slice. Prepare the mushrooms and slice coarsely.
- Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and when it is hot, gently fry the onion and peppers until soft.
- Add the chicken and mushroom, and fry for a further 4 minutes or so until the chicken is sealed.
- Meanwhile, mix a little stock with the cornflour to make a smooth paste, and then add the paste back to the stock and mix.
- Add the tomatoes to the chicken in the pan, and bring to a simmer
- Add the stock, paprika, salt and pepper and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the stew starts to thicken.
- Cover the casserole and cook in a moderate oven for 20 minutes max.
Serve with couscous and garnished with chopped herbs, such as parsley and dill.
This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
- 1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
- 700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- a pinch of saffron
- chopped fresh parsley
- mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
- 3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- salt and pepper
- Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
- Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
- Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done.
- Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
- Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done.
- Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.
The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience.
So delicious. I tried this recipe from the marvellous book, ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. I had to order the grapes pickled in brine from Persepolis in Peckham. They also have excellent quality saffron and other essential Persian spices. If you can’t get pickled grapes, something else sour would do, such as lime or lemon juice, or small gooseberries.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- around 400g boned lamb, for example, leg steaks or boned shoulder, cut into fairly large chunks.
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 25g butter
- 500g carrots (around 5 medium carrots) chopped into batons around 3cm long.
- a tiny pinch of saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
- 4 tbsp pickled sour grapes.
- Over a medium heat, fry the onion in the olive oil, until beginning to brown.
- Add the meat, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin, and fry until the meat is browned.
- Stir in the tomato paste and salt, and stir and cook for another couple of minutes. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the meat, bring to a simmer and set to cook over a low heat for an hour and a quarter or so.
- Meanwhile, cut the carrots into batons and fry in the butter until beginning to caramelise at the edges.
- When the meat is almost cooked, combine with the carrots and add the saffron water, and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes or so.
- Check the seasoning, add the pickled grapes and stir. When you are sure the meat is really tender, serve with basmati rice.