Stuffed Mirlitons 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Aug 11, 2017

This is a classic Creole dish made with the squash native to Louisiana also known as chayote or vegetable pear. The ones you choose should have smooth, pale-green skin.

To read the accompanying story, see: How a 50-year-old community cookbook became a mainstay in almost every Cajun kitchen.

Make Ahead: The mirlitons can be boiled, cooled and refrigerated a day in advance. The mirliton halves can be stuffed and refrigerated for a day before they are baked; the baked stuffed mirliton halves can be refrigerated for 2 days in advance. Reheat, covered, in a 300-degree oven until warmed through.


Servings:
6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

Ingredients
  • 3 mirlitons (chayote squash; see headnote)
  • 3 slices bread, crusts removed
  • Water
  • 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons plain panko or fresh plain bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Dash ground cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cooked shrimp

Directions

Place the mirlitons in a pot and cover with water by an inch or two. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 45 minutes or so, until tender all the way through. Drain and cool. Cut them in half horizontally, discarding the seeds and scraping out and reserving much of the pulp. Be careful not to dig too vigorously, or you’ll poke holes in the mirliton halves.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, or grease with cooking oil spray.

Tear the bread into small pieces and place them in medium bowl. Add just enough water to moisten and let sit for a few minutes, then squeeze out any excess moisture.

Heat the bacon fat in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the fat is sizzling, add the bread pieces, onion and cooked mirliton flesh, stirring to incorporate. Cook and mash to form the base of the stuffing mixture, keeping things moving in the pan to avoid scorching. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.

While the mixture’s cooling, melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and toast for a few minutes, until golden brown, stirring to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat.

Add the egg, cayenne pepper and generous amounts of salt and pepper to the cooled filling mixture in the bowl, then add the parsley and shrimp, stirring to incorporate.

Use the filling to stuff all 6 mirliton halves evenly, mounding the mixture as needed. Arrange the halves in the baking dish. Top each mound of filling with the buttered bread crumbs. Bake (middle rack) for 20 minutes; the halves and filling will look set.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Mrs. La Vonne Owens in “Talk About Good!” by the Junior League of Lafayette, La. (Favorite Recipes Press, 1969 edition).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.