Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chayote Tomatillo Casserole

This dish was inspired by a dish I was served at Mr. Natural in Austin. I was served chayote squash with corn that had been simmered in a tomatillo based broth. Chayote is a small squash that is sized and shaped like a pear and is bright green.

2 chayotes, cubed (no need to peel; skin and seeds are edible, but some people prefer to peel)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 ears of corn, husked, kernels removed from cobs
12 small tomatillos or one pint, papery skin removed
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnishing)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
half of an onion
1 poblano chile
up to 1 cup of water or vegetable broth (if needed)
salt and pepper

Roast the tomatillos, onion, garlic and poblano on a comal (griddle) on a burner or in a hot oven. Turn occasionally to roast evenly. After roasting, Remove papery skin from garlic and remove stem and seeds from poblano. Blend in a blender with most of the cilantro. If it doesn't blend easily, add water or vegetable broth, bit by bit, until it blends into a sauce.

Place the vegetables in an oiled roasting pan and pour the tomatillo sauce on top. If there is not enough sauce to coat everything, add water or vegetable broth bit by bit, stirring until everything is nicely distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven at about 425 degrees for at least 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir from time to time.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. It would also be good with a bit of Mexican crema (cream) or a dollop of sour cream.

[Alternative: I baked this in the oven. But, I think this dish could also be simmered on the stove if you make the sauce more brothy, by adding the whole cup of broth, or even a bit more than that. Bring the sauce to a nice simmer, add the veggies and simmer at a low heat, stirring occasionally, adding more water or broth if it gets too dry.]

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