Chayote Cocido con Vino Blanco
This is a guest post by Leslie Korn PhD, MPH. She has lived in Mexico since 1973 where she conducts research and teaches about indigenous culinary and botanical traditions, and has a clinical practice in Mental Health Nutrition. You can find out more about her experience here. Her various books on food and nutrition can be found on Amazon and digital books on iTunes. Enjoy the recipe. It’s a good one!
What is Chayote?
Chayote, also called a vegetable pear is an ancient vegetable that is among the traditional foods originating in Mexico. Chayote is a member of the Cucurbitaceae, or squash family. Unlike other types of squash, it has one single large seed in the center of the fruit. Its scientific name is Sechium edule and is also called mirliton, choco, or in Nahua, chayotl.
It is versatile and very mild in flavor, which makes it an ideal balance to the strong flavors in this recipe. Rich in B-Vitamins and antioxidants so essential for brain health, chayote is a humble vegetable that will not disappoint. Chayote leaves have long been used to make a tea to dissolve kidney stones and reduce high blood pressure. Chayote is available in Mexican food markets and most large chain grocery stores.
To prepare chayote it is best peeled under cold running water as it has a sticky sap that can irritate the skin. Some varieties have prickly thorns on the outside of the skin and gloves should be used. Peel it as you would a cucumber and then slice in half, removing the inner seed and then slice and cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside in a bowl while you prepare the remainder of the dish.
How to Prepare
We prepared and photographed the dish following Dr. Leslie’s instructions. It is a simple dish to make with great results.
First, Gather Your Ingredients
You will need chayotes, onion, raisins, garlic, white wine and pumpkin seeds or pine nuts to garnish the dish. Chayotes come in two varieties spineless or with spines. The spineless variety, which we used for this recipe, is much easy to work with.
Prepare the Chayote
If you have never cooked with chayote you will find it easy to prepare. Start by peeling the chayotes.
Slice them in half.
Remove the hard seed with a spoon.
Chop the chayote into 1″ cubes.
Cooking the Dish
Chop the onion into 3/4″ pieces. Remove the seeds from 1 serrano chile. You will only use 1/2 of the serrano to flavor the dish. Peel the clove of garlic. Fry in 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
Fry for 5 minutes until the onion is just starting to brown.
Add the chayote and raisins.
Add the white wine.
Cook and cover for 20 minutes stirring once. Add salt to taste. While the dish is cooking toast the pumpkin seeds or pine nuts.
The Finished Dish
Place the cooked chayote on a serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. Serve warm. Provecho!
Stewed Chayote in White Wine
Yield 4 servings
Chayote, white onion and raisins stewed in white wine and garnished with pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. A delicious vegan Mexican recipe.
- 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ white onion
- small serrano chili
- ½ cup of raisins
- 2 chayote, diced into 1-inch cubes
- ¾ cup of white wine
- ¼ cup pine nuts (can substitute raw green pumpkin seeds)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the chayote. Remove the seeds and chop into 1"pieces.
- Chop the onion into 3/4" pieces.
- Heat up the oil gently and add the garlic, onion, and half a serrano chili (de-seeded). Let cook for a few minutes and then add the raisins, chayote and white wine. Cover and simmer on a low light for 20 minutes.
- The chayote will be firm and crunchy, but tender when ready. While the chayote is simmering toast the pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds) until brown.
- For the last few minutes uncover the chayote so the wine cooks off. Add salt and pepper. Pour the chayote into a serving bowl and top with the nuts.
My friend Alicia taught me this old Mexican trick to avoid the after-effects of chili oil on your hands that can in turn sting your eyes. After handling the chili do not wash your hands. It will only spread the oil. Instead rub your hands through your hair (if bald, find someone else’s hair!) the hair will absorb the oil perfectly. Then you may wash with soap and water.