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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Chayotas rellenas (Stuffed Chayotes)

Chayotas (Chayotes)

You may be wondering what chayotas (Chayotes) are, well for those who don't know, it's a fruit (Sechium edule) of the (Cucurbitaceae) gourd family (courgette, pumpkin, cucumber, squash, marrow, watermelon) although it is usually treated like a vegetable. It is native to South America and reached the Old World during the so-called Columbian exchange. It has an oval shape, similar to a pear, the skin can be light green or dark green depending on the variety, with deep indentations and small soft spines. It is not usual to see it in supermarkets, because it's not very commercial, but it is found in municipal and farmers' markets.

Chayota or chayote is very suitable for people who want to lose weight, since it contains very few calories and due to its high potassium content, helps eliminate fluid retention. 

Ingredients:

3 large chayotas
200g ground meat (half beef and half pork)
1 onion
2 or 3 garlic cloves
1/2 green pepper
2 tomatoes
Oregano
Black pepper
Salt
Oil
White wine
Parmesan

For the Béchamel:

25 grams of butter
50 grams of flour
450 ml milk
Nutmeg
Black pepper
Salt

Method:
  • Cut the chayotas in half and soak them with plenty of water (to cover them) for about 15 or 20 minutes, so that they lose the gelatinous substance inside.
  • Drain the chayotas, with a knife scrape the remains of the sticky substance. With a sharp knife, extract the seed from the centre, leaving a hole, and remove the skin.
  • Put plenty of water in a large pan, add salt, and cook the chayotas until tender (about 20 minutes approximately), you can also steam them. They must be done but al dente, so they do not fall apart.
  • Meanwhile, peel the garlic and onion, chop them small and in a pan with a little oil, sauté them.
  • Add the finely diced pepper and sauté.
  • When the onion mixture is becoming translucent, add the meat, season to taste, add a little oregano and sauté over high heat until the meat is golden brown.
  • Add a splash of white wine and reduce.
  • Then add the finely chopped tomato and continue sautéing until everything is well combined.
  • Fill the chayota halves and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased with a little oil, cover them with the béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  • Gratin in the oven at 200ºC, until golden brown on top.
Preparation of the béchamel:
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and brown it a little until it forms a paste and takes color.
  • Add the milk slowly and beat continuously with a whisk, over medium heat. Season with salt, black pepper and a little nutmeg and continue stirring until it begins to thicken, then remove from heat and immediately pour it over the chayotas

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