Recipe of the Week


Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yields: 6 Servings

Mirliton is known by many Americans as “chayote squash” or “vegetable pear” and by the French as “christophene.” This vegetable, a favorite of the Spanish, is said to have originated in Mexico. Others claim that the “Los Isleños,” or Spanish from the Canary Islands who came to Louisiana with Governor Ulloa in the 1760s, brought this vegetable with them. This South Louisiana delicacy is wonderful when stuffed with pork, beef and shrimp.

6 mirlitons, halved lengthwise
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground beef
1 pound (70–90 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ pound butter
1 cup minced onions
1 cup minced celery
¼ cup minced red bell pepper
¼ cup minced yellow bell pepper
¼ cup minced garlic                                                      
1 tbsp chopped basil
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
12 pats butter

Preheat conventional oven to 375°F. Boil mirliton halves in lightly salted water 45–60 minutes (depending upon the size of the mirlitons) or until meat is tender enough to scoop from shells with a plastic spoon. (Meat should slide out smooth, not crumbly.) Once tender, remove from water with a slotted spoon. NOTE: Reserve 2 cups of the boiling liquid or “mirliton stock” to use in the recipe as needed. Set aside to cool.  Using a teaspoon, remove seeds and gently scoop all meat out of shell, being careful not to tear shell. Discard excess liquid accumulated while scooping meat. Reserve meat and save shells for stuffing. In a 12-inch, cast iron skillet, melt ¼ pound butter over medium-high heat. Sauté pork and beef until golden brown. Stir until all juices have evaporated. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, minced garlic and basil then sauté 5–7 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.  Add reserved mirliton stock then bring to a rolling boil and reduce to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all stock is evaporated. This will help to tenderize the meat. Blend in shrimp and cook 2–3 minutes or until pink and curled. Mix in reserved meat from mirlitons and chop large pieces while cooking. Cook 30 minutes, stirring until flavors develop. After most of liquid has evaporated, remove from heat. Season to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Sprinkle in parsley and approximately 1½ cups of bread crumbs to absorb any excess liquid and to hold stuffing intact. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and stuff into hollowed-out shells. Place stuffed mirlitons on baking pan and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Top each mirliton with 1 pat of butter. Bake 30–45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve 1 mirliton half as a vegetable side dish or 2 halves as an entrée.

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