“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Name This Food! - Marrow

Well folks, it has literally been months since the last edition of Name This Food! so I aim to correct the situation right here and right now. If you recall (I know, I know...) I asked you folks what this was...

Well, wonder no more. I am sure you will recognise that it is clearly a squash of some description, but those of you in the UK will know that it is a marrow. Marrows are basically zucchini (courgettes) that have grown huge. What can you do with a marrow? I am so glad you asked.

Traditionally, here in the UK we stuff our marrows, meaning we half them horizontally, scoop out the seeds, fill the vacant space with a stuffing of some sort (usually sausage meat - based) and then bake it. This usually turns out to be terribly dull. Not only is the marrow part still tasteless, but all anyone ever eats is the stuffing part and so there are a lot of leftover chunks of marrow kicking about. So what can you do with a marrow that folks will actually consume with gusto?

I was given a marrow a couple years back and was faced with this particular dilemma. I didn't want to do the baked stuffed marrow but I also didn't want to waste a free marrow, so after a bit of hunting on the Web I discovered that there were several recipes for a lovely marrow and ginger jam, which I made, and it was freakin' delicious, especially on toast with a bit of peanut butter.

There are several recipes out there for this particular delicacy but I have found that they all call for an equal weight of sugar to marrow which I think is silly - I know I didn't use an awful lot with this jam and it was fabulous. Using the recommended amount would have just made it too sweet and killed the subtleties of the flavours which make it such a unique taste. Some call for powdered or ground ginger which is fine in a pinch but I recommend using a knob of root ginger for a fresher, more vibrant gingery twang.  So here's my version of the recipe.

1.8kg (4 lb) marrow, peeled and diced
1kg (2.2 lb) sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1lb apples such as Jonagold or Cox's, peeled and cored
80g (3oz) root ginger, grated (you could use a food processor)
2 tablespoons stem ginger or ground ginger

In a large saucepan or preserving pan, place the ingredients except the sugar and slowly bring to the boil, then turn down heat to a simmer. If you need to, add some water. Add the sugar. Simmer the whole shebang for 30-40 mins. When everything is soft enough, use a potato masher to mash the mixture to remove big chunks. Test for setting point by dropping a little jam onto a plate and letting it cool a little. If it wrinkles when you press it lightly, it's ready.

Try it, play with it, I think you'll agree this works. But there is one other recipe you can try...

I was told a few months back by one of the good ole country lads that populate the bar where I work that the almost-useless marrow has potential in making home brew. Yes, it appears that Marrow Rum is a genuine corker of a drink and must be consumed carefully. Here's a great blog article about that very topic...

Anyhoo, that's it for marrows. Now it only remains for me to ask...Name This Food!

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