Chayotes are delicious tropical squashes that are perfect to stuff with meat and bake like stuffed peppers. They do take quite a while to cook, though, but the hands-on time in this recipe is minimal. Make a big batch to feed a crowd. Leftovers reheat very well, too, making this recipe great for batch cooking. In addition to using the ground beef mixture provided here, you may also use any leftover Carne Molida, Picadillo or other meat filling to stuff these.
- Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
- 6 large chayotes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (24 g) fine Himalayan salt
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp (30 g) Sofrito
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 1 lb (455 g) ground beef
- 4 tbsp (64 g) tomato paste
- 2 lime juice
- 2 tsp (6 g) drained capers
- 1 tsp (2 g) dried oregano
- 12 pieces “Queso” Blanco, (optional)
- Place the halved chayotes in a large pot and cover with water; add the tablespoon (18 g) of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a low boil, cover and cook until the chayotes are fork-tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sofrito and remaining teaspoon (6 g) of salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant (longer if using frozen sofrito). Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the “cheese” and break up the ground beef, cooking, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm until the chayotes are ready.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Drain the chayotes and carefully scoop out and discard the tough, fibrous core from the center, leaving as much flesh as possible. Then, be very careful to scoop out the flesh while leaving the shell intact. Add the flesh to the meat mixture, increase the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Arrange the chayote shells on cookie sheets or in glass baking dishes and fill with the meat mixture. Bake for 10 minutes. If desired, you may top them with slices of dairy-free white cheese during the last 5 to 7 minutes of baking. Serve with your favorite side dishes.