Market ingredient: Marrows
Difficulty: Easy, just needed to cook longer
Did The Beard like it? Meh
Sometimes you have a bit of a dud week. Where what you think is going to be an awesome dish turns out to be kind of average. And this was that week. I ummed and ahhed about whether to even write this post, but I figured that everyone has their off week, right? Everything I cook can’t always be awesome 😉
One of my favourite dishes that The Beard’s mum makes is marrows stuffed with rice and spiced lamb. They are hollowed out, filled with lamby goodness, covered with diced tomatoes and baked until they are tender and delicious. When I saw the round version of these very marrows at the markets this week, I decided that this was the week to have a crack at Mona’s recipe. I made the call to make a pure rice version (and I’m not totally satisfied that I made the right decision), which should have been a really tasty, comforting Sunday Night Dinner. However I ended up with well cooked marrow and raw crunchy rice in the middle. Dammit.
I realised half way through that when Mona uses the long marrows (that look like a pale zucchini), she lays them down in the pot and then covers them with the tomatoes. This allows liquid to fill the marrow and thus cook the rice as it heats up. I, however, had used the round versions and didn’t think about needed to get liquid into the marrow itself. I unfortunately didn’t put enough liquid in the dish and hence ended up with crunchy, uncooked rice. I will say that the flavour was pretty good, and my instructions below are amended based on what I think I should have done to have ended up with cooked rice.
I’d really appreciate any feedback from anyone that knows how to cook these kinds of dishes correctly!
Ingredients for spiced rice-stuffed marrows
- 4 round marrows
- 1/2 brown onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
- 1 tbsp chopped almonds
- 1.5 cups of basmati rice
- fresh za’atar leaves*
- 2 tinnes of diced tomatoes
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Cut the tops off the marrows. Using a small spoon, scrape the core from the marrow, leaving a hollowed space and a wall of about 1/2 cm thick. You could keep the centres for later and use them to make something like zucchini fritters.
- Place onion, garlic and chilli in a fry pan on medium heat and fry in a lug of olive oil until onions are transluscent. Add spice powders and fry until fragrant. Add rice, almonds and za’atar leaves and fry until rice is coated with oil and slightly transluscent.
- Fill hollowed marrows half way with rice mixture and place in a casserole dish. Ladle a small amount of diced tomatoes and their juice into the marrows and add about a tablespoon of water into each marrow. Place tops back on marrows.
- Cover marrows with tinned tomatoes and lemon juice. Cover the casserole dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until rice is cooked through.
As I said, this dish was ok from a flavour point of view, a bit of a fail from a texture point of view. And unfortunately, when I dished them up onto the plate, they looked awkwardly like part of the female anatomy on the plate. Ha. Oh well, you win some, you lose some…
*Za’atar is a lebanese thyme that is used to make up the spice mix of the same name. If you don’t have za’atar, regular thyme will work just as well.