Mirliton and White Bean Stew

by on March 22, 2006
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Chayote/Mirliton

Mirliton by FotoosVanRobin on Flickr

One of my favorite Louisiana ingredients is mirliton. If the name doesn’t sound familiar to you, perhaps you’ll recognize it as chayote, vegetable pear, chouchou, choko, vilati vanga, or one of the other many names it goes by. It’s a little hard to describe the flavor and texture because it really isn’t like anything else. It’s not starchy like a potato or winter squash, yet it’s not as watery as a zucchini or cucumber. If you find nice, young ones, the taste is delicate and almost buttery. There really is no good substitute (but if you absolutely must substitute, try zucchini, and cook it for a shorter time).

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


It was good, really really good. I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch.

More Louisiana recipes: Tofu Jambalaya, Stewed Okra and Tomatoes, Red Beans and Rice, Chickpea Gumbo (guest post at Veggie Venture), and Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Cajun White Beans

 

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michalooney December 30, 2009 at 10:51 pm

My omnivorous boyfriend and I made this for his omnivorous family tonight. The flavor was rich, warm, and comforting.
Our changes:
Double the recipe
We omitted the dulse.
We used Zataran's dry crab boil, but only boiled it in the soup for 7 minutes.
Added half an eggplant and a bunch of kale.

Thanks for another great recipe.

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2 melissa daniells January 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I am australian and i only ever called Mirliton by the name chokos! They grow wild in the tropical regions . I am living in the UK and was excited to find one in a asian grocer and now i know what to do with it!!

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3 Dan Marsh July 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Susan, My wife and I are very enthusiastic about Vegan cooking and eating. We enjoyed looking at your recipes on your Webb Site. Please friend me on Facebook and yes I would love to receive your fall free News Bites newsletter via email. Dan Marsh

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