Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mirliton Casserole

What in the world is a mirliton? First, how do your pronunce it? Merl-it-ton? Say it with me, Mel-a-tawn. See, it isn't that hard. I think the rest of the world outside of New Orleans calls them Chayote Squash. They are vines and grow on arbors or fences all over Southeast Louisiana and are a staple in the winter, especially for the holidays. I can by them in Knoxville for $1.69 each or smuggle them in from New Orleans for 59 cents per pound.

This is a fantastic tasting dish that sends my husband, brothers, mom and friends over the moon. Get crazy and give this a try.

Mirliton Casserole -



I only need three for this recipe but I am starting off with six to split in half. I planning on serving this for Christmas too. This is a trial run. I haven't made this before, I'm doing it from memory and by the seat of my pants - so hold on!






Some Cajuns call them "alligator pears".







Cut 3 mirlitons in half lengthwise. Boil them in salted water for about 30 to 35 minutes. You want to soften the meat but not make it real squishy. Drain the mirlitons and cool them down a bit under running water.






Scoop the "meat" from the mirliton and discard the shell or skin. Set meat aside.



In a large high-sided pot or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and saute 3 strips of smokey bacon chopped, 1 medium onion chopped, 2 stalks of celery chopped, 1/2 of a bell pepper chopped, 4 cloves of garlic minced. The bacon will render fat and the vegetables will render liquid - everything will saute nicely and will not dry out. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Be careful with the salt, the bacon is salty, the mirlitons were boiled in salty water and we will be using bread crumbs later.

Stir in the mirliton meat and break it up just a little, then add 1/2 lb. peeled 41-50 shrimp, 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley and 4 sliced scallions. Stir to thoroughly blend. Once the shrimp have begun to turn pink, add 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs and gently fold in to absorb the liquid. You may need to add more bread crumbs to obtain a cookie dough type consistency.

Pour into a buttered casserole dish.

Dust the top with Italian bread crumbs and dot with chips of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.

This is beautiful and scrumptious dish to add to any holiday table. To be honest, my brother John would eat this straight out of the refrigerator, cold, the next morning for breakfast.

This is the stuff every cajun's vegetable dreams are made of.


15 comments:

John Roberts said...

You got that right! Leftovers rule for breakfast.

Giving the correct pronunciation of these dishes and their ingredients is an added bonus at this blog. It's a much needed public service in the culinary world. I want to stick an ice pick in my ear whenever I hear someone on The Food Network say PEE-can pray-leens.

gigi said...

Mirliton? I have never heard of such a thing. Sounds and looks wonderful. I wonder if I could find them in GA. Is is sort of like a squash?

Debbie said...

Never heard of mirliton. I thought they looked a little like pears! The dish looks great and I would love to try this!

Greg C said...

That must be different than what we call alligator pears. Ours grow on a tree. Is there any way you could get me a few seeds? I would love to try and grow them.

Marjie said...

Cajuns have vegetable dreams? Cool. It's great you could recreate this from memory.

Maria said...

Yeah, I have never heard of this one. Thanks for making me smarter today:) Looks great!

Reeni said...

That's a squash? It does look like a pear. I have never seen of or heard of!! Maybe cause I never looked for them. It looks really delicious!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I'm not sure if I've ever eaten Mirliton/Chayote. I have seen it but it's not so common here.

Pam said...

I have never heard of mirlitons before. This casserole looks so tasty...I'll be on the lookout for them in the grocery store.

Lisa said...

I leaned something new today. This looks great.

Jenny said...

Wow, I've never had Mirliton, but I want some. Your casserole looks delish!

The Blonde Duck said...

That's the stuff my dreams are made of! I've never heard of it, but I already love it!

Make a Roux said...

Katherine, you NAILED it! It looks just like my Mama's version and has the same ingredients.

Uhoh! Guess what? Now, the secret is out and all the rest of the world is gonna know about our vegetable dreams!!! There's gonna be a run on mirlitons, dawlin'!

Pam said...

I've seen that at the store and always wondered what it was and what to do with it!

We Are Never Full said...

thank you so much for giving us a great idea for chayote! i've passed these by so many times in the store but no more!