The pear shaped fruit has light green skin and deep indentation along the blossom end. There is a single soft flat seed in the middle of the fruit.
A tropical perennial vine, the tubers of the plant are eaten like other root vegetables. The shoots and leaves are often used in salads and stir fries.
To Select: Choose firm and unblemished fruit that is heavy for its size. Avoid fruits with soft spots and/or moldy.
To Store: Keep (whole unpeeled) refrigerated.
To Use: Use as you would summer squash (like zucchini). Peeling is optional (I personally prefer to peel). The bland tasting creamy white flesh can be sliced, diced, cubed… Use in stir-fry, soup, stew …
BRAISED CHICKEN & CHAYOTE (serves 4)
• 4 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
• 1 tablespoon ginger wine
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce (dark, regular or gluten free, I used dark)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
• 2 – 3 garlic, minced
• ½ teaspoon honey or sugar
Combine all the above seasoning, add chicken and mix well. Marinate 1 hour (if time permits). Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.
• 2 – 3 chayotes (about 1 pound), peeled, seed removed and cut into 6 – 8 wedges
• ½ red onion , cut into wedges, lengthwise (pole to pole)
• 2 – 3 slices ginger from ginger wine
• 1 – 2 star anise, optional
• ½ – ¾ chicken broth
• 1 – 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch combined with 1 tablespoon water
1. Drain marinated chicken.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to preheated Dutch oven or frying pan. Add chicken and brown both sides (skin side down first).
3. Add chayotes, onion, ginger, star anise and broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer until chicken is cooked and chayote is tender, about 35 – 45 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thicken with cornstarch mixture. Serve. (I served it with smashed boiled yukon gold potatoes.)
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• 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
• 2 teaspoons honey
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
In a small bowl combine all the above and set aside to allow garlic to infuse dressing. If desired, remove and discard garlic before using. This is the dressing.
• 1 pound peeled and cubed (about ¾ inch) butternut squash
• 1 – 2 chayote (about 8 ounces) peeled and cut into about ¾ inch cubes
• ½ red onion, cut into about 1-inch pieces
• 1 tablespoon oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
• Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
1. Toss butternut squash, chayote, onion, oil, garlic and salt together. Spread, single layer on a sheet pan.
2. Bake at 350°F (convection) for 35 – 45 minutes or until squash and chayote are tender or reached desired doneness. (I like the chayote to still have a crunch so baked for 35 minutes.)
3. Scoop into a mixing bowl, toss with dressing, adjust taste, garnish with sesame seeds. Serve cold or at room temp.
Substitute: Balsamic vinegar for the rice vinegar. Olive oil for the sesame oil.
Add: 1 cup cooked chickpeas sprouts or 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas.
NOTE: When toasting black sesame seeds, add a few white ones to act as guide. When the white one are toasted so are the black ones.
I used one of the small (weighed about 1½ pounds before peeling) butternut squash from my in-storage supply harvested last year. Click here to see the sizes.
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