November 21, 2013


stuffed marrow

A marrow is really just an overgrown courgette.  My father grew them in the greenhouse when I was a child, as did most of my uncles, and the neighbours.  A single marrow goes an awfully long way in terms of culinary use so using them up was a bit of a challenge.  (Giving them away was not an option as everybody in the village had more than enough already.)

My mum had three principal uses for a marrow; stuffed with sage and onion stuffing then baked and served with chops or sausages, in homemade chutney or, the family favourite, stuffed with a meaty filling, smothered in cheese sauce and baked.

stuffed marrow2stuffed marrow3

Once my brother and I had flown the next, using up the marrows was more of a challenge for my mother and in autumn every visit I would come away with half a marrow whether I wanted it or not.  Which I did, of course.

My dad no longer grows anything at all so I had completely forgotten about stuffed marrow until I found myself looking at a modest sized specimen in the supermarket the other day.

To make stuffed marrow you don’t so much need a recipe as a guide to the concept.  Think beef lasagne, bolognaise and a large green vegetable and there you have it.  It’s almost a cross between a lasagne and a cauliflower cheese.

stuffed marrow4

I always peel and pre-cook the marrow by putting thick, deseeded rings of it in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes.  Then I turn the heat off and leave it in the water to continue cooking while I make the filling and the sauce.

On this occasion I used 500g lean minced beef and made a kind of bolognaise/cottage pie concoction using onions, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, tomato purée, and enough stock to make it thick and not runny.

I placed the cooked marrow rings in a baking dish, spooned the meat mixture in and around them and poured a thick cheese sauce over the top.  I also added a few slices of goat’s cheese just because I had it in the fridge and it needed using up.

stuffed marrow5

Bake at 180°fan for 20-30 minutes until browned and bubbling.  You can just have it by itself, or with salad or vegetables.   A dish like this would easily serve four hungry people.  It’s great comfort food for chilly autumn evenings.


  1. This sounds lovely...
    especially the use of the chevre on top!!

    Marrows ain't quite the same as overgrown courgette....
    but I know what you mean...
    overgrown courgettes have a far less watery texture...
    you can pre-cook rapidly in the microwave for the rings...
    I always do so for courgettes when stuffin' 'em!...
    it's nitheringly cold here today...
    this would "warmusupatreat"!

    1. Tim, I meant to say that they're similar to an overgrown courgette, not that I've ever had a courgette that grew so big!
      It didn't occur to me to use the microwave, I was in the mindset of doing it the way my mum did it, but I will remember that for next time.

  2. My Mum used to be given marrows by my grandfather from his allotment. I hated them as a child, but when we lived in France I got to like them. Prefer them cut in half, seeds removed, then stuffed with beef in a tomato sauce. Hadn't thought of marrow rings.

    1. Snowy, my mum always cut them in rings, so I do too. Our marrows were so huge that she probably didn't have a baking dish big enough to hold them if cut lengthways!

  3. Having been called away unexpectedly a number of times during the summer, I can confirm that courgettes do grow to an extraordinary size if they're neglected and the weather is kind to them. Still edible, though, with the right recipe. This recipe looks lovely for a cold day - very warming and very comforting. One thing puzzles me about the marrow - since they grow so well in this country, I'm not sure why most of the marrows that I see in supermarkets seem to come from Spain. Oh well, life is full of mysteries.

    1. You have touched on a very interesting fact there Phil.
      I thoroughly object to seeing foreign fruit and veg in our supermarkets when we can surely grow them here.