Crab Stuffed Mirlitons

What is a mirliton you ask?

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A mirliton is a pear shaped vegetable that also goes by the name chayote or vegetable pear. It has a mild flavor and we cajuns love to stuff the mirliton with all kinds of goodies.

There’s even a Mirliton Festival in the artsy Bywater neighborhood (two neighborhoods over from the French Quarter).

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My favorite preparation is a crabmeat stuffing. We used to have this dish from time to time when I was growing up but it has been at least a couple of decades since I’ve had one. I saw some mirlitons at Whole Foods and decided I’d try to recreate this childhood favorite.

Crab Stuffed Mirlitons

Serves: 4- 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 mirlitons
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus some to drizzle
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 – 1 ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and peper to taste

Directions:

Cook mirlitons in boiling water until tender (about 30 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the breadcrumbs is you’re making them from scratch. I used some fantastic whole wheat Acme Bread’s Pain au Levain … not exactly traditional, but a little bit healthier and quite tasty.

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Sauté onions, celery and bell pepper in oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

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When mirlitons are done, drain them and let them cool until you can handle them. Cut them in half.

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Remove the seeds and scrape the pulp into a dish. A melon baller is a great tool for this job. Leave about ¼ of the meat in the shells.

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Chop the mirliton pulp and add it to the sautéed vegetables.

Add the crab, green onion and 1 cup of the bread crumbs to the sautéed vegetables. Mix well being careful not to shred the crabmeat. If the stuffing is too wet, add more breadcrumbs. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
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Spoon the stuffing into each shell. There will be more stuffing than will fit into the mirliton shells. Just pile it on. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumbs over the mirlitons.

Place the mirliton shells in a casserole dish. Bake them for about 15 – 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs begin to brown.

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