Thursday, 18 September 2014

What a Whopper! Courgette Longboats - Vegetarian or Vegan

Fritters, soup, stir-fried or baked, and still the courgettes come. When Mr P found one that had escaped his notice and grown to about 22cm, something had to be done with it. The result was a repeat of a recipe I devised for a competition a while ago; requirement was a cheap two-course meal and the prize was a set of kitchen white goods. Those were the days, when really good prizes were plentiful if you made the effort.

Courgettes stuffed with mainly inexpensive ingredients seemed worth a go, so I sliced them longways and scooped out the flesh to make a boat shape. Longboats seems a good title - really important in recipe competitions at that time. For info, the dessert recipe was for a butterscotch meringue mountain, which I still make quite often.

The recipe below serves two, or four for a starter as there are four pieces. It's vegetarian, but would be vegan if the bread is suitable (e.g. Everfresh Sprouted Rye Bread from Holland & Barrett; it's organic and free from dairy, wheat and yeast). Timing is under an hour from start to serving, and the dish is not diet-antagonistic! Quantities are approximate, depending on the size of the veg and how much you scoop out.

Courgette Longboats
1 very large courgette, or 2 medium, halved lengthways, & if large, across also
tsp of oil
1 medium onion, chopped fairly finely
1 large savoy cabbage leaf (or similar), spine removed, chopped
half slice of bread, preferably wholemeal, hand-crumbled or whizzed
juice (and optional grated zest) of half a lemon
3 tbsp cream cheese, pref lower fat
4 skinned, chopped tomatoes or 4 tbsp from a tin, drained of 'loose juice'
2 heaped tbsp walnut pieces
salt & pepper
Ready for the oven
1  Using a teaspoon, hollow out most of the courgette flesh, leaving each piece in
          a boat shape and reserving the flesh.
2  Heat the oil and fry the onion gently 3-4 mins.
3  Add the cabbage (or whatever greens) and fry a further 3 mins.
4  In a small bowl place all the rest of the ingredients, add the onion mixture
          and about a quarter of the removed flesh, finely chopped. Stir well.
5  Judge whether the amount is enough to fill the boats; if not, add a little more 
          onion, cream cheese and/or chopped flesh.
5  Place the boats, hollowed side up, in a greased oven-proof dish and pile the 
          mixture into them, pressing down as you go.
6  Cover the dish with foil and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 mins
          until the shells are soft when pierced with a knife.

Served up with sauce

To the mixture could be added chopped mushrooms, grated nutmeg, or light herbs such as thyme, sage or parsley. Spinach could replace the cabbage, and other nuts used instead of walnuts. Whatever you fancy!

Here it's served with cheese sauce - I like Asda's packet sauce which requires only boiling water to make up. It tastes great and isn't high in calories. I also have a drum of non-dairy 'cheese sauce powder' which would go well too. Baby potatoes would be good, or some French beans or sugar snap peas. To drink, maybe apple juice or vegetarian/vegan dry white wine. OK, no contest there.

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