Chayote is another one of the unusual ingredients I’ve found to have several aliases. In different countries it is known as sayote, mango squash, choko, chuchu, chow-chow, chocho, christophene, custard marrow, xuxu, mirliton, and the most fitting, vegetable pear and pear squash. They really do look a lot like pears, except a bit more wrinkly.
In reality, they are in the gourd family and have 1 large, edible seed inside. The skin is also edible on small, young chayotes, although large ones have tough, inedible skin but are easier to stuff.
Chayotes have a mild taste with just a hint of sweetness and are very succulent. They are versatile and used both raw and cooked. Try them boiled, mashed, fried, baked or stuffed. They can also make a nice addition to salads, coleslaw and even apple pies. (In fact, there used to be a rumor in Australia that McDonald’s used chayotes in their apple pies.)
Couscous with Chayote and Acorn Squash
Makes 2 servings.
- 1 small chayote, roughly chopped
- 1/2 small acorn squash, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 1/2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
- 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 C couscous
- 2 1/2 C water
- 1 T butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 T champagne vinegar
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 t stone-ground mustard
- 1 t honey mustard
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place chayote and acorn squash in a casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and roast for 30 minutes.
Saute the bell pepper, garlic and shallots until tender. Mix in rosemary just before they vegetables are done.
Heat 2 1/2 C water in a small saucepan along with butter, salt and pepper. Once water is boiling, add couscous, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes, then remove cover and fluff with fork.
Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Combine roasted chayote and squash, sauteed vegetables, parsley, couscous and vinaigrette in a large bowl, stirring to combine and coat couscous and vegetables with vinaigrette.