Baked stuffed Provençal courgettes

4
1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 round courgettes, small
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp of fresh thyme, or oregano, roughly chopped
  • 200g of lean chicken mince
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Method

1
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease a roasting tin or a tian (earthenware dish) with some olive oil
2
Cut the tops off the courgettes, keeping them to use as lids. Using a pointed spoon, hollow out centres of the courgettes, leaving a shell of about 1.5cm thick. Place the courgettes in the oiled tin or tian and bake for about 30–35 minutes, until they are just soft but still retain their shape
3
Meanwhile, roughly chop the courgette flesh. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large frying pan and sauté the flesh until it is soft. Spoon the flesh into a bowl and set it to one side. Add some more oil to the pan and add the onions – fry them until they are translucent and soft, adding the garlic for the last few minutes
4
Add the tomatoes and tomato purée to the onion mixture and fry until the tomatoes are soft and have collapsed. Add the chopped fresh herbs and the cooked courgette flesh, stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and set it to one side
5
Add some more oil to the pan and cook the chicken mince until it is lightly coloured and cooked. Add it to the onion and tomato mixture, mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste
6
Spoon the mixture into the vegetables and place the tops back on top of the courgettes. Drizzle a little olive oil over and around the stuffed vegetables and bake for 30 minutes, or until well browned and the vegetables are soft, but still holding their shape
7
Serve tepid or at room temperature, with the cooking liquor drizzled around the courgettes and some chopped oregano or thyme sprinkled over them. All that is needed now is some crusty bread, good wine, good company and maybe some sun!