- 4 medium chayote squash (mirlitons)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, plus 8 tsp
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1/4 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
- 1/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into small pieces
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs, divided
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Put squash in a large pot and cover with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook until squash are fork tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer squash to a colander to drain and cool.
Cut squash in half lengthwise. With a paring knife, shallowly trim away any spiny or blemished spots from skin, and tough pulp from the end nearest to seed. Remove and discard seed and use a small spoon to carefully remove pulp from inside of each half, leaving a ¼”- to ½”-thick shell. Drain squash pulp in a colander, lightly squeezing to release excess moisture, then chop pulp. Set aside pulp and shells.
Preheat oven to 350°.
To make the stuffing, in a heavy Dutch oven over low heat, melt butter. Add onions, celery, and bell pepper, and cook until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add reserved squash pulp, shrimp, parsley, cayenne, celery salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and cook until shrimp is pink, about 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Add remaining 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in egg, blending well.
Divide stuffing between 8 squash shell halves. Place stuffed squashes in a 9”x13” baking dish. Add 1 teaspoon butter to tops of each mounded squash shell. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until tops are browned, about 20 minutes.
Chayote pears exude clear latex like liquid especially while peeling which can cause peculiar tingling sensation and numbness in handling parts. The sticky fluid is thought to cause some transient anesthetic contact reaction. The reaction is self-limiting and has no long lasting consequences. Its effect can be minimized by using protective gloves or by peeling in cold running water.