Shrimp and Mirliton Casserole

Total Time:
2 hr 30 min
20 min
2 hr 10 min

10 servings

  • 5 pounds (about 8) medium mirlitons (chayotes)
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Emeril's Bayou Blast (Essence), recipe follows
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon dried fine bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril's Kick It Up! Red Pepper Sauce, or other hot sauce
  • 3/4 pound freshly grated American cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the mirlitons and cook until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine the shrimp with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon Bayou Blast in a mixing bowl and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

When the mirlitons are cool, cut them in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, peel, and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon Bayou Blast and the thyme. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the mirlitons and cook, mashing them with a potato masher, until very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Add the shrimp, salt, black pepper, green onions, and parsley. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp turn pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the eggs, 1 cup of the bread crumbs, and the pepper sauce. Mix well. Spoon the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs. Bake until the topping is lightly browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993.

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    Chayote squash is the proper name, mirliton is the Cajun/Creole name and some New Orleans people also call this a vegatable pear. Whichever you want to call it, it is wonderful. The way I was taught was to just boil the entire mirliton and when they are done (just like a potato a fork goes thru easily slice in half, take the seed out and scoop out the meat. It doesn't take long and works wonderfully well. Let the meat drain in the colander for a little while and then mix all of the ingredients like the recipe says. Good Luck!
    People down south call these pear shaped vegetables mirlitons, but they are actually called coyote pears in the grocery store. Check it out, I bet you can find them under this name. Suzy from MS
    Hey Sir Yankee,
    That is like asking for a substitution for chocolate when making a triple chocolate fudge cake.
    You could always ask a Southerner to ship you some mirlitons, they are really cheap and would do well UPS ground.

    Anyway - this dish is great, it is frustrating peeling the
    mirlitons - but the end result is that everyone loves this stuff.
    I have now (great been nominated by my family to be the
    designated mirliton & shrimp dish maker for all get togethers.....
    Including Saints games.....
    Thanks Emeril
    Sounds terrific, but what might a Yankee use in place of the Mirlitons?
    I tried this recipe for my mother who has always loved merliton casserole, but I (unfortunately) followed "Liz's" advice and didn't peel the fruit. It left a fiberous bite to the dish that was unpleasant though it didn't change the flavor which was awesome! The next time I made it I peeled the squash very easily with a potatoe peeler and it make a big difference.
    I grew up in N.O. and mirlitons were very popular, and at times hard to get. This casserole is similar to a recipe that's been in our family for generations, but it's better. One tip, don't bother trying to peel the mirlitons--you'll wear yourself out, and the skin is so thin you won't even notice it. Drain chopped mirlitons in a collander to reduce time it takes for water to evaporate while cooking.
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