Provencal Stuffed Vegetables
- 3 small round or oval aubergines
- 3 young courgettes
- 1 small red pepper
- 1 small yellow pepper
- 6 small ripe tomatoes
- 3 small onions
- 6 large courgette or pumpkin flowers optional
- 5 oz lean veal thinly sliced
- 4 oz trimmed chicken livers or button mushrooms
- 5 oz cooked ham
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 medium-sized garlic clove
- 2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram leaves
- 3 tbsp veloute sauce
- 1 egg
- 3 1/2 oz finely grated hard cheese
- generous pinch oregano
- olive oil
- 1 oz butter
- 4 oz fine dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- French bread
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil; add the vinegar to it.
- Prepare and rinse all the vegetables. Cut the aubergines and courgettes lengthwise in half; pare off a thin piece from the most rounded part of the aubergines so they will be stable.
- Cut the peppers lengthwise in quarters, removing all the seeds, the stalk and the inner pith as usual. Cut 'lids' off the tomatoes; slice the peeled onions horizontally in half.
- Rinse the freshly picked courgette or pumpkin flowers, remove the pistils and drain on kitchen paper or a clean cloth. If courgette or pumpkin flowers are unobtainable, use an extra pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C) mark 3. Saute the veal slices and the sliced button mushrooms in a little hot butter with the sprig of thyme for 2 - 3 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a chopping board and chop fairly finely, together with the ham.
- Scoop out the flesh from the aubergines and courgettes, leaving a fairly thick layer next to the skin. Reserve the flesh. Carefully remove the inner part of the onion, using a grapefruit spoon or curved, small vegetable knife. Blanch these hollowed vegetables in the acidulated water, allowing 10 minutes for the onions, 5 minutes for the peppers and the courgettes and 3 minutes for the aubergines. Drain all these blanched vegetables upside down.
- Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and discard them; scoop out the flesh from the tomatoes and reserve; sprinkle the inside with a little salt. Chop the reserved flesh from the vegetables, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and saute the chopped flesh for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Chop the marjoram leaves with the garlic and combine in a large mixing bowl with the chopped veal (and livers or mushrooms, if used), the veloute sauce, the lightly beaten egg, grated cheese, cooked vegetable pulp, a pinch of oregano and a little salt and pepper. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more veloute sauce.
- Lightly oil 2 baking sheets. Fill all the vegetables with the prepared mixture; if you use pumpkin flowers, use only 1 tsp for each and insert carefully as they tear very easily; pinch the tips of the flowers gently to enclose the filling.
- Transfer the stuffed vegetables to the baking sheets, sprinkle with a topping of breadcrumbs and place a sliver of butter on each.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, placing each sheet in turn under a very hot grill for the final 2 - 3 minutes to brown. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving; they are at their best warm rather than piping hot.
- Serve with crusty French bread warmed in the oven.
Calories: 429 kcal
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Protein: 26 g
Saturated Fat: 8 g
Trans Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 91 mg
Sodium: 1119 mg
Potassium: 2037 mg
Fiber: 14 g
Sugar: 24 g
Vitamin A: 2661 IU
Vitamin C: 147 mg
Calcium: 265 mg
Iron: 4 mg