Saturday, June 11, 2011
Have you ever heard of a Mirliton? No? Me either, up until a week or so ago. Named Mirlitons or Chayote, they are native to Louisiana, but I'm not sure about their popularity outside of the state. This recipe for Stuffed Mirlitons was in a relatives cookbook, Dolly Farrington. The daughter (or granddaughter) had compiled a list of her favorites that Dolly made. Dolly was the last of sixteen children! The recipe book notes that Dolly's mother felt it was imperative for her girls to learn how to cook even though she always kept help in the kitchen. I guess I'd want as many of my girls cooking if I had sixteen children, too! The family lived on a plantation in Louisiana on land the river has long since swallowed up.
Stuffed Mirlitons (Vegetable Pears)
3 large mirlitons
1 stick butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. finely chopped bell pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 bay leaf, minced?
1 cup freshly chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. Thyme
3 bread slices, broken into pieces and soaked in half a cup of milk (I only used 2 and still had stuffing left)
½ lb. deveined raw shrimp, cut up in chunks
Cut Mirlitons in half and par boil in salted water. When tender, remove from water and let cool. Then, scoop out tender pulp and mash, leaving shells in nice condition.
Saute onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley in butter until soft. Add mirliton pulp, tomatoes, salt, pepper, Thyme, and milk soaked bread. Let mixture fry for 5 minutes. Add shrimp, mix well. Fill Mirliton shells with stuffing. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and dot with butter. Put in 350 degree oven and bake 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Serve on plates bedded with lettuce. Garnish with parsley. Serves six.
Recipe courtesy of Dolly Farrington, a relative way on down the line.
When I tried these, I served them with a green salad, and fried hush puppies. Some of the stuffing was left over after filling the Mirliton jackets so I added a little more bread crumbs to the mixture and formed them into balls. I plopped those in the frying oil and cooked them right along with the hush puppies. That was a good way to go. I realized as I typed this blog that I forgot half the ingredients...I guess baby got me distracted. I left out the Thyme, tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf (that ingredient confused me some...guessing she had a fresh one or else the dried leaf would be too tough). The taste was so good you'd never know anything was a miss. Though, I'm sure if the missing ingredients were added this recipe would be out of sight.
Also, having not worked with Mirlitons I must say they were some what perplexing. The texture is almost like a very hard pear, but not resembling in taste. The seed inside reminds me of some I've seen in avocados. I scraped that part out and trashed it before I removed the rest of the pulp. I used a grapefruit spoon to do this and that worked nicely in preserving the shells.