Sunday, 14 September 2014

Stuffed Courgettes with Avgolemono Sauce

When is a courgette a marrow? Is a marrow an over-grown courgette? I'd say yes, and my housemate and I had this exact... debate when she returned from her family's allotment, wielding a bag stuffed full of courgettes / marrows.

I know a few people who aren't keen on the courgette; watery and tasteless are a couple of adjectives used to describe them, but I don't believe that to be true. They have a delicate flavour, yes, but when cooked properly they're a great vehicle for flavour and a soft, buttery texture. I often stir fry them in shit-loads of garlic, or stew them in olive oil and garlic until they're a mush; garnished with parsley and a spritz of lemon, this mush is wonderful smeared on bread or tossed through pasta.

For something a little more involved though, this lot were stuffed and drizzled with avgolemono sauce. Don't ask me how to pronounce that. It is Greek in origin, and made using stock, egg and lemon. It can be a bit of a tricky bugger if you rush through it, as the egg takes a bit of delicate handling, but otherwise it's a smooth and deceptively creamy sauce; perfect with the beef and dill stuffing the vegetables.

Stuffed Courgettes with Avgolemono Sauce

Serves 4

4 medium courgettes, or 1 large marrow

200gr minced beef
1 small yellow onion, diced finely
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
50gr bulgar wheat
A handful of dill, chopped finely
1/2 tsp salt, for seasoning
Table salt, for salting the courgettes
1 tbsp cooking oil
400ml chicken stock

Avgolemono Sauce

300ml hot stock (strained from the cooked courgettes

2 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp butter

Firstly, slice the courgettes into slices about 2 or 3 fingers thick. Remove the inside core seeds, leaving a couple centimetres of white flesh with the skin. This is best done using a small knife and a sturdy teaspoon.

Dissolve plenty of salt in little boiling water, then fill up with cold water, enough to submerge the courgette slices. Leave for 20 minutes, then remove, rinse and pat dry.

Add the cooking oil to a large, non-stick deep sided frying pan on a medium heat. Fry the onion, garlic, cumin and paprika with the minced beef and the bulgar wheat. Add the 1/2 tsp salt and mix well. When the beef has lost its rawness, remove from the heat and mix in the dill. Move to a bowl to cool, and wipe out the frying pan.

Preheat the oven to a warm setting to keep the courgettes warm while you make the sauce. To stuff the courgettes, place each round down into the pan and pack each well with the beef mixture, pressing down with the back of a teaspoon as you go. Set on a medium heat and add the stock around the courgette rounds. Place the lid on, or top with foil tightly. Once the stock comes to a boil, turn it down to a low heat to gently steam. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and carefully turn the courgette rounds with a knife and a spatula. Steam again for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, place the courgettes into a heatproof serving dish and place in the oven. Remove 300ml of stock for the sauce.

To make the sauce, heat a saucepan on a medium heat with the butter and the flour, whisking well. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes to cook the flour out. Next, add the stock dribble by dribble, whisking well in between adding more, until all of it has been added. Simmer for 2 - 5 minutes until it has thickened. Next, pour the egg and lemon mixture into the sauce VERY slowly, mixing well continuously. When all has been poured, take off the heat. Pour the sauce around the courgettes and drizzle it on top before serving.


Ed said...


Kavey said...

They look gorgeous. We've been eating a lot if courgettes as this summer's harvest has been a good one again, after a few less immersive years. I've blogged quite a few, included some yellow globe courgettes stuffed with sausage ragu and melted mozzarella on top. Never made that unpronouncable sauce! Looks lovely.

Katie said...

Sounds delish; courgettes are one of my favourite veg, especially when paired with lemon. The sauce sounds really interesting, never tried anything like that before.

Food Urchin said...

I am with you Lizzie, marrows are overgrown courgettes (and I say this despite the fact that you can get marrow seeds for the allotment).

And that sauce sounds lovely, but I think you've missed a trick. You shoulda made marrow rum..