This dish really belongs to one of my first memories of the South of France, eaten in a restaurant we adored as children for its simple cuisine and the huge basket of crudités we’d find on our table when we arrived.
With this dish you can vary the vegetables and I think it’s lovely to use a mixture of aubergine, courgettes and tomatoes. The meat is generally a mixture of beef and pork, seasoned with herbs and spices. Funnily this is also how the word “farce” (stuffing) acquired it’s original theatrical meaning; i.e. a pleasant, often comical mixture of several sketches.
As you can see from the picture I made this recently with lots of different coloured tomatoes, which is also fun if you can get them.
For 4 (I budget 3 stuffed vegetable halves per person and then a couple extra for the very hungry ones):
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 aubergines
- 3 courgettes
- 300g Pork mince (the Pork/Beef mixture doesn’t need to be exactly 50/50, just use something approximated, depending on your supermarket sizes)
- 300g beef mince
- Dijon Mustard
- Herbes de Provence
- 1 clove of garlic
Set your oven at 180 degrees. Wash the vegetables and dry them. Cut the top of the tomatoes and spoon innards out carefully.
Cut in half (lengthways) the courgettes and aubergines, and with the help of a knife and spoon, take out most of the flesh but be careful not to cut right through to the bottom. You should be left with little vegetable boats ready for the filling. Rub inside out with salt and olive oil.
Then put your two minces into a mixing bowl, add a tablespoon of mustard, a finely chopped clove of garlic, some herbes de Provence (or just basil and/or oregano) and salt and pepper. Mix all of his thoroughly, then fill your vegetables and make sure there’s a nice amount of meat in each of them.
Put them in a large baking tray and off into the oven, between 45 minutes and 1 hour. The vegetables need to be nice and tender, but make sure they don’t totally fall apart. A nice touch is to add a bit of goats cheese or Mozarella on top right at the end and some fresh herbs.
This dish works well with a side serving of rice, or just salad and some crunchy bread.
Voilà, fun, simple, colourful and very Provençal. Enjoy!