My usual way to prepare mirliton is to stuff it. But I wanted to try something a little different this time, so I went looking for mirliton recipes. I did a google search on chayote and came up with more recipes than I would have imagined, including several enticing Indian ones. Chayotes are one of the most reasonably priced vegetables in my local supermarket, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore all the international possibilities for cooking them. Last night, I decided to stick with what I know and love, Cajun cooking, while trying something a little different.
Enter Emeril. Yes, that Emeril! I owe him a big thank you because his recipe for Crawfish and Mirliton Soup provided the inspiration and technique for this stew, which I have to count among my new favorites. He uses tomato paste as the basis for his soup instead of a roux made of fat and flour. Get this: It’s naturally fat-free! And it lends a deep, tomato-y richness to the soup. I’m going to be using this trick more often.
I’ve made this less spicy than Emeril would have, but it still turned out too spicy for my daughter E. (who wound up eating rice with edamame instead). If you’ve got a jar of Emeril’s seasoning or another cajun spice blend, feel free to use it instead of the combination of spices that I use. But do use the dulse or other seaweed, which gives it a slightly fishy taste.
Mirliton and White Bean Stew
Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off. Most are seasonings that go into the stew together. If you’re rushed for time, you can use about a tablespoon of Creole Seasoning instead.
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (tip: use the food processor for all the finely chopped ingredients)
- 1 finely chopped green bell pepper
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dulse or other powdered seaweed (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid crab boil (optional)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cups peeled, seeded and 1/2-inch diced mirlitons (about 2 large mirlitons)
- 16 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- freshly cooked rice, for serving
- Heat a large non-stick pot over medium-high heat. (You may choose to give it a quick spray of olive oil before heating.) Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery, and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir for another minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, beans, bay leaves, and next 10 ingredients. Stir well, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the mirliton and cook until it is just tender but not over-cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fresh oregano, and parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Check the seasonings, adding more if needed, and serve over rice.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Nutrition (per serving): 217 calories, 6 calories from fat, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 687.8mg sodium, 882.1mg potassium, 42.4g carbohydrates, 9.8g fiber, 6.3g sugar, 12.7g protein, 6.2 points.
It was good, really really good. I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch.