Cooking is definitely one of my creative outlets. When I get bored and restless, as one easily can when it is not quite spring, I very often start looking for something to cook. Yesterday, it was Mexican. Oh, and the beginning of a batch of beef jerky.
With some beef short ribs in a mock mole sauce simmering in the crock pot, and my sliced beef for jerky nestled in its marinade, my attention turned to sides. I love Mexican inspired food but when you are not eating beans, corn or flour the sides can be a bit of a challenge. So, I turned to the simple chayote squash, and a version of my Mexican Coleslaw. This unassuming veggie (it’s actually a fruit) is pretty low in carbs at only 4.5 g/ 100 g (just under 1 cup) and here in Calgary it is readily available.
My recipe called for peeling and seeding the squash but it can do some bizarre things to your hands as it oozes a non-toxic liquid that can really irritate your skin, making them look and feel like the skin is peeling. I know, that doesn’t make them sound so great so far does it? I have found that other squashes will occasionally do this as well. Apparently you can oil your hands a bit (doesn’t sound very safe to me), or peel them under running water. I chose to just hold the halves in a paper towel while I peeled and quartered them and took out the seed. Some say the seed is the best part but I was following instructions.
I chose a recipe from an old Mexican Cooking School cookbook that I have had forever. It looked so simple that I was actually a bit hesitant as I wondered if it would really have much flavour. Basically its just butter, onions, sliced squash, salt and oregano. Easy enough, but would it taste like anything?
Sliced onions in butter should have let me know that everything was gonna be okay as the caramelized onions along with the super fresh and lively taste of the squash were a great combination adding a lightness to my heavier beef dish and reminding me that spring really is just around the corner. Just know that if you are trying to cut carbs you’ve got to go easy on the onions. I used a small onion here and then left most of them for Steve to eat. Still got the flavour but left the carbs behind. I know, how nice of me.
One squash served two of us, making this a really economical dish as well.
Simple Chayote Squash
- 1 large chayote squash
- 1 small onion sliced and separated
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
Hold the chayote in a paper towel or under running water and peel. All of the peel will likely not come out of the grooves, it's fine.
Cut squash into quarters and remove the seed (optional). Lay flat side down on cutting board and slice a bit smaller than 1/4" thick
Put a heavy frying pan over medium heat, when hot add butter and onion and half of the salt. When onions are beginning to be translucent add squash, salt and oregano to the pan.
Cover pan and reduce heat to low, cooking until tender, about 10 - 12 minutes. You don't want the chayote mushy but you do want them to be tender when poked with a fork.
Serve and enjoy!