What to do with gigantic zucchinis (aka marrows)

The original plan for the early autumn edition of Savour was a lovely dessert tart featuring fresh fat figs.  Nature intervened in that the figs aren’t yet ripe while the vegetable garden was throwing zucchini after zucchini at us.  And with my attention wandering and wondering, watching the figs fail to ripen, the forgotten zucchinis continued to grow.  And grow.  Time to turn these gigantic zucchini (aka marrow) into the pot.  This recipe will use about half a large marrow.  As an aside, grated (unpeeled) marrow works well in baking in place of grated zucchini, the only concession I made was to scrape out and scrap the seedy core.   Cooking dried beans from scratch is super easy, and you have the advantage of flavouring them as you like (tinned black beans can be used but drain & rinse them if they are in brine).  Epazote is a Mexican herb I have in my herb garden.  If it is hard to come by, leave it out or swap it with another herb of your liking.  I also have a wide range of chillies in the garden – if you can’t find a particular type of chilli, substitute another of similar heat.  This casserole makes plenty – enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.
Brown Rice & Black Bean Casserole with Summer Vegetables

Rice & Black Bean Casserole with Summer Vegetables

2 x T olive oil
4-6 cups x thinly sliced zucchini or marrow
1 large capsicum, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small chillies such as cayenne, seeded and finely diced
2 cups medium grain brown rice
1 t smoked paprika
3-4 cups diced tomatoes (or two 400g tins of tomatoes)
1 x 400g tin mixed beans in spring water
1 ½ cups cooked savoury black beans (or 1 x 400g tin savoury black beans)
2-3 cups hot water
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated tasty cheese
½ cup grated Gouda cheese

Heat the oil in a large heavy based oven-proof casserole dish.

Add zucchini & capsicum and sauté until soft and fragrant.  Add garlic, chillies, rice & paprika and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, beans (include the spring water with the beans) & water.  Add a good grinding of black pepper.

Stir to combine the ingredients then cover and place in a preheated oven at 180ºC/350ºF.

Bake for half an hour, then remove lid, and continue cooking for ½ hour.  Stir the casserole then cook for a further ½ – ¾ hour, until the rice is tender.

Season to taste then sprinkle with mixed cheeses and serve.

Serves 6.

Crockpot Savoury Black Beans

2 cups dried black turtle beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chilli, halved
1 sprig epazote (optional)
6 cups hot water
Preheat crockpot or slow cooker on HIGH while preparing the ingredients.

Place all ingredients except the salt in the crockpot.

Cook on HIGH for about 3-4 hours, checking after 3 hours to see if the beans are tender.  Cooking times are approximate as all crockpots cook differently.

Once beans are cooked, season then allow to cool in the cooking liquid.

Freeze in 1 ½ cup portions (freeze with the cooking liquid).

Yeilds about 5 cups cooked beans.

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