After a long day preparing food for everyone else, we at Takefood really like to wind down with something comforting, and this is absolutely perfect!

The recipe

Peel a 600g marrow, cut it in half and discard all the pith and seeds. Cut it into thick pieces about 2cm in width. Roughly chop 750g of tomatoes. Peel and slice a couple of small cloves of garlic.

Warm 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the tomatoes and marrow and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Tear the leaves from 6 sprigs of tarragon and stir them in. After 15 minutes’ cooking, stir in 3 tbsp of sultanas, then season generously with salt and black pepper.

While the tomato and marrow mixture is cooking, soak 60g of couscous in enough hot water to cover it. The couscous will swell and soak up the water. Chop the leaves from 30g of parsley, add 2 tbsp of chopped pumpkin seeds and stir them through the couscous.

When the tomato and marrow stew is tender and juicy, check the seasoning then serve in shallow bowls with the pumpkin seed and parsley couscous. Serves 2-3.

The trick

This is one of those dishes at its best when allowed to simmer to an almost soupy softness. Watch the liquid levels as it cooks. If the juices are running low, pour in a little vegetable stock. The sultanas lend a chutney note to this vegetable stew, but the flavours here are herbal rather than spicy, so any herbs you have to hand – tarragon, basil, lemon thyme – are all sound additions.

The twist

Use courgettes in place of the marrow. Simply cut them each in half and then into short lengths. Tarragon and basil are my herbs of choice with marrow, but lemon thyme is a winner, too. I like the purity of this dish but, if you wish, add onions at the start, cooked until pale and soft, before you add the tomatoes and marrow. You can add spices, too, such as coriander and cumin seeds, roughly ground.

Email Nigel at nigel.slater@observer.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater


On – 26 Sep, 2017 By Nigel Slater