Monday, January 11, 2010

Chayote Challenge

I received a ton of local overgrown chayote and this month, I am determined to try them in as many recipes as I can. My first experiment was to cook the chayote whole, scoop out the cooked flesh and then "grill" it in butter, garlic and Indian spices. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try much of it because when I checked the fridge, it was all gone. Next I tried a mock mango chutney. It looked a little sad until I added some turmeric for color. It was a hit at a dinner party I attended, and my hosts asked to keep the leftovers. And I have to say, I can't think of a more perfect complement to corn chips. Here's the recipe:
Chayote chutney
1 large chayote squash
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup raisins
1 garlic clove
2-3 fresh hot red chili peppers, chopped and seeded
1/4 t powdered mustard
1/4 t powdered ginger
1 clove, crushed
1/8 t garam masala
dash turmeric for color
Cook the chayote whole by poking it with a fork and microwaving it (about 6 min) until slightly soft. Let the chayote cool slightly and then remove and discard the seed and skin, and chop the squash into large chunks. Mix the squash, onion, pepper, garlic, vinegar and sugar and raisins in a saucepan and cook the mixture until the squash is soft and the other ingredients are cooked through. Mix in the other spices and cook for 1 minute or until the mixture is slightly thickened. Cool and place into a clear glass jelly jar. The chutney will thicken as it cools.
For my next trial, I used an extremely overgrown squash and just sauteed the cooked squash in garlic, olive oil, fennel, salt and fresh parsley, as I would potato. I'll have to say that I prefer the chayote at a less-mature stage, and sure prefer the chutney. But, who needs all that sugar? I am going to tinker with a version with honey, and less sweetness overall and with more red pepper so the color is better.

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