If you want to liven up your holiday party try one of my favorite casseroles. While most of your guests may never heard of Chayote before they will never forget how great it tastes. A common theme at all holiday parties is to bring a new and unique dish that will amaze and please your guests. Once you have used Chayote squash and have discovered its great ability to absorb the flavors of the ingredients it is combined with to present a new and unique taste with each dish you will find a new place in your menus for it.
Chayote is also called mirliton, vegetable pear and other names in other countries, such as guisquil in Guatemala, where I first learned to use this squash. It is a relatively flavorless fruit, generally used as a vegetable. Similar to zucchini, its lack of specific flavor makes it an excellent choice to mix with other more flavorful ingredients. It is excellent as a side dish, and can even be made into a dessert. This is one very savory way I like making this into a side dish for my family.
Chayote and Goat Cheese Casserole
3 chayote squash, halved, cored, peeled and sliced thinly
4 ounces mild goat cheese
1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons green peppercorns in brine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray with cooking spray an 8 inch square or 7 x 11 inch casserole dish. Place half the squash slices into the bottom of the pan, evenly. Sprinkle on half the onion slices, then one tablespoon of the flour, 1 teaspoon of the green peppercorns, drained, and half the goat cheese, crumbled. Place the rest of the chayote slices evenly over the first layer, repeating with the rest of the flour, onion, peppercorns and goat cheese.
In a bowl, combine the milk and sour cream with a whisk. Whisk in the salt and white pepper. Pour over the casserole. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 45 minutes more, until the squash is tender. Makes 6 servings.
Chayote squash grow on a vine. They are easily grown by planting the entire fruit, which will need a support for the vine to climb. It is from the cucurbita family as are pumpkins, gourds and other squash. Grow your own and have a bounty of this lesser used fruit for your family and friends. A wonderful filler food, it can be added to soups, stews, or mixed with potatoes in a dish or casserole. The squash may also be used in place of potatoes in your favorite scalloped potato dish, reducing the high carb load of the potatoes.
About The Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. Many people have asked what A Harmony of Flavors means. Have you ever had a meal where the visual presentation was stunning, the smells were incredible, the taste was so remarkable that you ate slowly savoring every bite, wishing the experience would never end? Then you have experienced what a truly harmonious meal can be like.
My passion is to teach people how to create a Harmony of Flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own.
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