Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cajun Crawfish and Shrimp Stuffed Mirliton with Okra Tomato Ragout

     Stuffed vegetables are very popular in Louisiana.  When the vegetable is carved to look like a canoe, then it is called a pirogue.  The mirliton stuffing is a bread stuffing with shrimp crawfish, the trinity vegetables, Cajun herbs and spices.  Mirliton is another name for chayote squash.  Chayote has a very mild zucchini squash kind of flavor.
     Cajun Crawfish and Shrimp Stuffed Mirliton Recipe:
     Cut a mirliton (chayote squash) in half lengthwise.
     Cut a flat spot on the bottom of one of the mirliton halves, so it can sit on a plate without rolling over.
     Use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the mirliton, leaving a thin shell and save the pulp and squash meat.  (Discard any hard seeds.)
     Finely chop the mirliton pulp.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 small splash of olive oil.
     Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon of a mixture of chopped red bell pepper and chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add 1/2 of a chopped green onion.
     Add the reserved fine chopped mirliton pulp.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of sage.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped parsley.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup of shrimp broth.
     Add 8 to 10 shelled crawfish tails
     Add 6 to 8 peeled small shrimp that are split in half lengthwise.     
     Simmer and reduce, till the liquid is nearly evaporated.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Stir in a light sprinkle of bread crumbs.  (About 1 tablespoon or less.)
     Add 1/2 of a whisked egg.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Stuff the uncooked mirliton shell with the crawdad and shrimp stuffing.
     Sprinkle a little bit of bread crumb over the stuffed mirliton.
     Place the stuffed mirliton on a roasting pan.
     Add a splash of water to the pan.
     Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, till the stuffing is fully cooked and mirliton shell becomes tender.
     Set the stuffed mirliton on a plate.
     You can serve the stuffed mirliton plain or serve it with stewed tomato.
     I served the stuffed mirlton in the pictures with an okra and tomato ragout.  
     Okra and Tomato Ragout Recipe:
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 pat of unsalted butter.
     Add a tiny splash of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 of a minced clove of garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     When the shallot turns clear in color, add 1 coarsely chopped peeled and seeded ripe tomato.
     Add 1 okra that is cut in half lengthwise.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 3/4 cup of vegetable broth.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the ragout, till the tomato and okra become tender.  The broth should nearly be evaporated, when the ragout is done cooking.
     This stuffed mirliton is light, spicy and delicious!  Cajun food is like 400 year old French cuisine with Native American influences.  Cajun cuisine is Louisiana cooking at its finest!  There is no shortage of flavor in this stuffed mirliton.  Crawfish and shrimp is a popular combination in Louisiana.  Stewed tomato of any kind is complimentary to the flavor of chayote squash.  This is a very tasty stuffed mirliton entree!  Delicious!  ...  Shawna

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