Stuffed Vegetable Provencal

2 09 2009
(Clockwise) Stuffed Patty Pan Squash, Tomato, Eggplant, and Pepper

(Clockwise) Stuffed Patty Pan Squash, Tomato, Eggplant, and Pepper

The things that happen when someone hands you a giant patty pan squash for free!!!! Well my same friend gave me a patty pan and I had no idea what to do with it for a few reasons. A) I’m not very versed in squash besides the typical bake it with some oil/butter and B) most things online talked about tiny patty pans, you know like ones you steam whole for 15 minutes… not this one. 

So after our lap around the market the sous chef and I were struggling with ideas when this one came up from the cookbook (which we carry with us at the farmers market sometimes) for 2 reasons.  A) Our squash was certainly big enough to stuff and B) because it called for herbs de Provence! Which happen to be a spice the sous chef inherited and we had never really used before: score! So off we went selecting our produce of choice to use in it.  As we picked everything up it became quite clear that we were going to have LOTs of food and only two of us. So later that day I hatched a plan and invited three folks over to join us.  1 had previous plans but we gained two people (and side dishes)  in the process. 

Overall the recipe was really simple and can be summarized as: hallow all veggies out, saute the middles, add some spices and bread crumbs to the sauteed middles, scope the mixture into the center and put back into the oven.  Our middles got a bit interesting because the recipe called for bacon and bread crumbs and we had a vegetarian and a wheat sensitive person in the crowd.  So instead of putting the bacon in all of it we used precooked bacon pieces and added them to approximately 1/2 of the stuffing.  After last wheat-free adventures using crushed tortilla chips as eggplant breading I was a little gun shy to really deviate from the known bread crumbs; partially for my own taste but also because I like doing recipes the way it is written once to give it a fair shake.  Anyway though our wheat sensitive guest found some wheat free bread at the grocery store which we made into crumbs/chunks that was actually pretty good.  It was normal white bread but the texture and taste was good enough to use for all the stuffing! So we thawed up the bread, chopped it up, and added it to the middle mixture.  In addition we reduced the number of veggies we used.  The recipe called for 2 eggplants and we were 1 short because I used it early in the week in the tomato sauce and had intended to replace it by tonight.  Luckily, with only 4 people instead of 5 we decided to forgo an extra one. Also, we reduced the number of squash from 2 to 1 since it was so dern giant!

Now the one other thing that isn’t apparent yet is that we acutally had to precok the eggplant and the squash shells.  The recipe called to precook the eggplant shells for 20 minutes but I included the squash in those 20 minutes. After the eggplant was done and we were waiting to fill everything I let the squash go in the oven because it was so big.  Id say it got an extra 30 minutes during that time for a total of 50 minutes maybe before it got stuffed. 

Patty Pan Squash stuffed and baked!

Patty Pan Squash stuffed and baked!

Once we got the filling ready I just scooped it into each shell of a vegetable until they were all nice and full:

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven - The long bread sticks indicate they are vegetarian

Once filled they all went back into the over for 30 minutes and out they came and onto our plates they went!

In my opinion the stuffed tomatoes were very good.  The stuffing could have had more flavor to it (perhaps not cooking it all in bacon grease reduced some of that) but it went well with all the veggie shells.  Also, the squash was cooked and edible but I think it could have benefited from some more time in the oven alone before it was stuffed.  One of my favorite thins is that I actually was able to slice down the center of the eggplant’s stem as well. It just makes me happy.  Overall it was a great dinner and very yummy.  Next time maybe bacon grease of even more of the spice mixture the dish is named after.  The options are endless!

While the food was rightfully on the good side the company was on the great side! People make meals, veggies just make food.




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