Friday, November 6, 2015

Stuffed Courgettes à la Francaise

A few weeks ago I was in Cannes, not as the rumour in work would have it, for the Film Festival, but for work.  I was brought out for dinner in a lovely family restaurant in the old town where our starter was an assortment of stuffed vegetables filled with a delicious minced meat.  I asked the waitress if I could have the recipe and after much humming and hawing, it was revealed at breakneck speed in French.  Luckily I grasped enough of it to scribble it down.  Deirdre Barlow's stuffed marrow, this is most definitely not!

Veal is a little tricky to come by but I found a pack of rose veal meatballs in M&S (I would usually use beef and pork mince) and a pair of round courgettes from Lidl to get things started.  Regular courgettes work perfectly, as would onions, peppers or aubergines - choose whatever you like.  I added some lemon zest and lots of Italian herbs to my mince to lift the flavours and brighten the dish.  Some grated Emmental cheese on top for extra flavour and dinner was a huge hit.

Stuffed Courgettes à la Francaise

2 round courgettes
1 tsp oil (rapeseed, olive, whatever you like)
4 shallots, finely minced
2 large mushrooms. finely minced
300g minced veal
1 clove garlic, crushed
25g sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
100ml white wine
100ml chicken stock
40g Parmesan, grated
2 tbsp mix of parsley, thyme & oregano, finely chopped
Zest of half a lemon
25g Emmental, grated

Prepare the courgettes by cutting off the top and carefully scooping out the insides with a tablespoon. (The innards of a round courgette are really fluffy and seedy, so I don't bother using them).  Set to one side and preheat your oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the shallots and mushrooms, cooking for 5-6 minutes until the mushrooms have dried up a little.  Add the minced veal and cook until brown, then add the garlic and tomatoes and saute for another minute.

Add the wine and stock and simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated, then stir in the parmesan, herbs and lemon zest.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Carefully transfer the minced meat to the hollowed out courgettes, top with the grated Emmental and place into a deep ovenproof dish.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until the courgettes are tender.

Cool for a few moments before serving.

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