During my last Sunset Park crawl, I couldn’t resist buying some of the Mexican chorizo that’s sold in all the grocery stores and bodegas. Mixed into omelettes or covered in cheese, all the recipes I found for using it were pretty heavy. That’s when I came across this version using chayotes in Marilyn Tausend’s Cocina de la Familia, a collection of recipes she collected while traveling through the United States and Mexico. This one come from Miami by way of Mexico City. Light, fresh and slightly sweet, the chayotes were the perfect balance for the heavily spiced chorizo. Originally from Mexico but popular throughout Latin America, Tausend compares chayotes to the ideal 19th century woman, “somewhat exotic, always modest, very versatile, and capable of assuming any role necessary.” I didn’t know I was looking for a Victorian solution but I found one.
Chayotes Rellenos/Stuffed Chayotes
Translated to English from Cocina de la Familia: mas de 200 recetas auténticas by Marilyn Tausend with Miguel Ravego, the original recipe is attributed to Virginia Dominguez.
3 chayotes (about 3/4 lb each)
2 tablespoons of sea salt
1-2 tablespoons of canola oil
8 ounces of Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1/3 cup white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
6 ounces of queso fresco, crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Put chayotes in a heavy pot with enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside till cool enough to handle. Halve chayotes lengthwise and remove the seed. Carefully scoop out the pulp with a spoon, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Chop the pulp and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and saute until cooked through. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium high heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and continue to cook an additional two minutes. Blend in the pulp and parsley. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Divide the stuffing equally among the chayote shells, pressing down to form packed mounds. Place in the prepared dish closely together.
Toss together the breadcrumbs, queso blanco, and melted butter in a small bowl. Cover the filled chayotes with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake in the oven until tops are golden, 15-20 minutes.