As an adolescent I was always intrigued by chayotes – the mysterious fruits that dangled from vines in my great grandmother’s backyard. When I began experimenting with recipes and new ingredients, I first thought to use the chayote as a substitute in my interpretation of butternut squash soup. The outcome…amazing, if I do say so myself!
Chayotes are technically fruits, but act much like vegetables in that they are only mildly sweet and somewhat bland. They reach their full flavor potential when sautéed with olive oil, butter, onion and garlic. Next time you’re walking through the produce aisle at your local market, give them a try! You can always start with my chayote soup recipe below.
Recipe by Lola
½ stick butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion sliced into ½-inch rings
5 garlic cloves peeled
8 large chayotes rinsed and roughly chopped
1 large potato peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon dry chili flakes
2 to 4 cups chicken broth (depends on desired consistency)
Salt or powdered chicken bullion (to taste)
- In a medium-sized pot, sauté butter, olive oil, onion, and garlic on low-medium flame until onion becomes translucent.
- Add chayotes, potato, and chili flakes. Mix, cover and cook until chayote becomes tender (about 30-45 minutes). Let cool slightly.
- Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender until smooth. Chayotes contain a lot of water, therefore you should be able to puree this without liquids, but if necessary, add chicken broth to get the blender going.
- Return mixture to pot and stir in chicken broth until it reaches desired consistency. Add salt (or powdered chicken bullion) and simmer on low flame for 20 minutes.
- Serve hot and garnish with freshly chopped chives and chili flakes.
Note: You may also substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth, evaporated milk, or half broth, half evaporated milk for a richer soup. If you prefer to peel your chayotes, they leave a weird sticky film on your hands after you peel them. Don’t be alarmed – it comes off after a good scrubbing! Although I found that the texture is just as creamy with the skin, if blended very well.
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