Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chayote Squash Chicken and Rice

When I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a few things, I was trying to come up with something for dinner that would include yellow summer squash. My mind was swirling around Mexican food. I was thinking about something with chipotle peppers, maybe coating the squash with chipotle pepper paste and roasting it.

My eyes fell onto some chayote squash, so I grabbed a couple. I had worked with one before but it was years ago. Chayote is pronounced [chah-YOH-teh] and resembles a green pear in appearance, taste and texture. It is sometimes called a vegetable pear.

I had picked up a rotisserie chicken as well as some dried chorizo sausage (I love chorizo!). When I make chicken tacos or enchiladas I start with some shredded rotisserie chicken, so I grabbed the chicken and went to work. I used a fork to shred the chicken this time and it worked great. I hate shredding it with my fingers even though it is very effective. I will use the fork from now on. I still had no idea of what exactly I was making. I had no taco shells and no tortillas, so I would not be making tacos or enchiladas.

I added some extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic and put it in a non-stick pan on low heat. I decided I wanted to add the chayote to the chicken mixture, so I sliced and diced it. There was somewhat of a seed pocket at the very center. It was very easy to work around and discard.

Well, here's the recipe with my usual nonmeasurement:

Chayote Squash Chicken and Rice

1 pack yellow rice (I use Vigo brand)
Extra virgin olive oil
Minced garlic (about a tablespoon)
1 bay leaf
Ground cumin (about a tablespoon)
Smoked paprika (small sprinkling)
Dried oregano (1-2 teaspoons)
Freshly ground black pepper (1-2 teaspoons)
Chorizo (I used one small dried sausage,sliced, but ground chorizo would work too)
1 chayote squash, diced
Shredded rotisserie chicken (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
Chicken broth (about 1 cup)
Salt to taste
Sprinkling of shredded cheese (I had mozzarella on hand)
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Get yellow rice cooking according to package directions. Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in non-stick pan over very low heat. Add seasonings to oil (garlic thru black pepper). I shredded my chicken and sliced and diced my chorizo and chayote squash while the pan and seasonings were heating up.

Raise heat of pan to medium and stir seasonings and oil. When they start to sizzle a little, add the chorizo and chayote and stir to coat. Heat for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add chicken and stir to coat. Add chicken broth, a little salt if needed, and simmer over medium heat until liquid reduces.

After most of the liquid has reduced, top with a sprinkling of cheese and toss the mixture. Serve over rice with a garnish of fresh cilantro.

This was very flavorful. I was a little too heavy-handed with the salt, but other than that it was fantastic. I will definitely make this again. It would be a great enchilada or taco filling.

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