Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce
I would like to share this simple-to-do and special dish I regularly serve to my family. It is not that common and tastes comforting and exciting at the same time. The main ingredient is the usually overlooked but essential chayote.
A Nice Home-Cooked Chayote Meal
I would like to share this chayote dish I regularly serve at home to my family. Chayote is mostly used in noodle, soup, pork and shrimp dishes where I come from, and, being a vegetable, kids usually discard them and go for the noodles, pork and shrimp instead. I don’t think we have a dish wherein chayote is the main ingredient. It may be because it has a simple mild vegetable and watery taste and cut at strips of slab, it kind of has a light hairy texture. Chayote, however, is just perfect in this recipe. It is basically a meat sauce with chayote, and the trick is to keep it wet and bubbling while cooking. In the recipe, dicing the chayote eliminates the light hairy texture, and being mild-tasting and the dominant ingredient in the dish, it balances off perfectly the spicy garlic and tomato base of the meat sauce. It gives that happy home-cooked taste and comfortable feeling while chomping it down after work or coming from a cool rainy day outside.
Chayote, the Overlooked But Essential Vegetable
Chayote is also called sayote, tayota, choko, chocho, chow-chow, christophine or merliton. It is eaten raw in some countries and is also mixed as an ingredient in many dishes. Being inexpensive, it is used as a substitute in dishes like apple pie by some restaurants to cut costs. It is also added into mixtures to form the many-colored high-nutrient Asian noodles available in supermarkets now. The green high-nutrient noodles are usually the ones with chayote. There are various chayote dishes, but I was not able to find one like the one I prepare. The closest I found is Chayote El Casserole, but it is not in tomato sauce and is baked. We all come from everywhere and have different food preferences, but being a simple dish with a few main ingredients, I think this will please the taste buds of many.
Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce by excabel
- One to two chayotes. Depending on their size after the dicing process below, they should be two parts the size of the ground beef.
- One fourth kilo ground beef
- Six tablespoonfuls of olive oil
- Three to five cloves of peeled and chopped garlic
- Hot sauce
- 200 grams tomato sauce
Our objective is to make a chayote and mild spicy garlic ground beef mixture in a good amount of oily tomato sauce. The trick is to keep the mixture semi-boiling in low flame all throughout the cooking process which is about 30 minutes.
- Peel the chayotes. Be careful as the peeled chayotes are slippery. Chop them right in the middle into four pieces on your chopping board. Be careful as you carve off the white seed in the middle. Dice the eight pieces of chayotes.
- Put olive oil into a medium pot in low flame. When hot, put in garlic. Put in ground beef. When brown and hot, dab in preferred amount of hot sauce and mix. Here, the ground beef is semi-boiling.
- Put diced chayote on top of semi-boiling ground beef. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix diced chayote with the ground beef slowly and evenly. Put pot lid on.
- Check if chayote in mixture is soft and a little translucent. Again, the mixture should be semi-boiling and should not be dry.
- Put in tomato sauce and mix slowly. Put pot lid on again, and after a little while when tomato sauce has blended well into the mixture, mix slowly again and then turn off low flame. The resulting sauce has a red-orange color.
- Serve in a nice big bowl
Applications of Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce
As I’ve said earlier, we come from the world over, and below are some applications of the dish to enjoy it in many different ways. First is to simply partner it with plain hot white rice. This is what we usually have, and the excess sauce runs through the plain white rice giving it some tangy flavor. Sometimes I add more hot sauce into my Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce. This variant is the perfect example of the balanced taste of the dish.
Another variant is stuffing the Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce into big mushrooms. There are big dried ones in the supermarket. After becoming soft after boiling them, you can tip them over with their stems up and use a fork to fill in the Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce into the mushrooms. The fork drains the excess sauce not needed to fill the mushrooms. The mushrooms, itself, have a beefy flavor that blends well with the balanced taste of the dish.
Another way to enjoy Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce is using it as a taco filling. Again, use a fork to drain the excess sauce when we fill in the taco shell. Here, I recommend the bite-size or mini taco shells. You can probably add a little grated cheese here or even use nachos. As it is, it already tastes good, and you can serve this variant to your kids to give them that nutritious dose of chayote dressed up as a taco.
Other variants I’ve thought of but haven’t tried are having Chayote in Ground Beef Tomato Sauce as a pizza sauce and lasagna filling. As a pizza sauce, you can dice the chayote into smaller pieces and replace tomato sauce with pizza sauce in the recipe. You can spread the mixture on a pizza dough topped off with cheese and then baked in the oven as per pizza dough instructions. As a lasagna filling, dice the chayote into smaller pieces and spread the resulting mixture to the lasagna noodle layers topped off with cheese. Basically being a meat sauce, this dish can have a lot of variants for many to enjoy.