Sometimes I believe that ground meat gets a bad rap! I mean I could not imagine growing up without “picadillo” and “sopa de albóndigas.” Because we were a family of 10, my mom had to be creative with her use of ground beef. For this recipe, I took my mom’s “albóndiga” (meatball) recipe and stuffed it into a chayote squash. I have to admit that I was not all that familiar with chayotes until just a few years ago. The first time I tried them, which was in a soup, I was hooked! You can eat them fresh, grilled, stewed, or stuffed and they will remain a little crisp even after being cooked for a long time. And this is another recipe that I made a little lighter by using ground turkey instead of beef. My mom would have enjoyed this version of her “albóndigas.”
Yields 6 servings
For Stuffed Chayote:
6 chayote squash
1/2 pound ground turkey
3/4 cup cooked white rice
1 cup Mexican chorizo
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, minced (seeds removed)
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
For Tomato Pepper Sauce:
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups chayote
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chipotle in adobo
1 can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Chayotes are also known as “pear squash” because of their shape and color…
1. In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, rice, green onion, egg, cumin, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate.
2. Wash and dry the chayotes. Slice them in half, lengthwise and scoop out the pit first, discard. Continue scooping out gently, until you have a good half cup size to fill. Transfer the scooped out part of the chayote to a blender or processor. Take the chayote halves, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place them on a baking sheet and roast them for 25-30 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven. The chayotes are firm, so this will help soften them before stuffing them.
3. In a blender or processor, combine the chayote with all the remaining ingredients to make the tomato/pepper sauce. Blend until smooth, taste for salt and pour into a 13×9 glass baking pan, set aside.
4. In a medium saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, heat to medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, add the red bell pepper and jalapeño, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer onto a plate that is lined with paper towels to absorbs the oils from the chorizo. Set aside and let cool. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
5. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and stir in the cooled chorizo/pepper mix. Divide the turkey into 6 parts and fill each chayote. Lay them in the pan with sauce carefully. Cover with foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle each with a little shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake just until cheese melts. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
Other recipes by Sonia:
Mexican Red Rice
Annatto-Citrus Marinated Chicken
Chile Relleno with Serrano Shrimp
Crab Cakes with Habanero Slaw
Cheesy Chorizo Bread
Flank Steak Tacos
Frijoles Borrachos con Chorizo
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Nectarines
Chile Garlic Shrimp Kabobs
Chicken Enchilada Soup with Chayotes
Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chip Chimichangas