These stuffed courgettes are typical fare in Provençe – the region that hugs the Mediterranean coastline in the South of France. Vegetables, olives and olive oil are used in abundance in Provençe, and this recipe really captures the sun and fragrance of this much-loved area. There are numerous recipes for these famous stuffed vegetables, but this one is my favourites, a lighter recipe that uses chicken in place of minced beef.
As well as lean, minced chicken breast, I used fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs for the stuffing mixture, and also pre-baked the courgette shells beforehand to ensure everything was cooked to perfection. If you are lover of red meat, by all means use minced beef, and likewise, if you are vegetarian, omit the meat and add some cooked rice in its place. These make a wonderful light luncheon dish for al fresco summer dining, and are just as tasty when eaten at room temperature.
I have stipulated small ‘round’ courgettes in this recipe, but you can use large beefsteak tomatoes, onions and aubergines too, it’s sometimes nice to stuff an assortment of vegetables this way, so your diners have a choice of which vegetable they prefer. Try wherever possible to source fresh herbs, as dry herbs don’t really work in this recipe. Just use regional herbs that are in season – thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, savory, lavender and marjoram work particularly well.
You can prepare most of this recipe in advance by pre-baking the courgette shells and cooking the filling – this will prove very handy for all busy mums and dads who work. Serve these delicious stuffed veg with a simple side salad, crusty bread to mop up the juices and a glass of wine.