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Shrimp, Tasso, Mirliton and Corn Macque Choux

Mirlitons are also referred to as vegetable pears or chayote squash. You an find them on vines growing in Louisiana back yards. Their delicate flavor generally absorbs the taste of other foods they come in contact with. They are also used as an ingredient in Caribbean, as well as Latin and Southwestern American, dishes.

3 mirlitons
4 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced tasso
3 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
10 ounce can diced Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1 pound peeled small shrimp
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup minced parsley
6 cups cooked rice, pasta or polenta

Place mirlitons in a sauce pot and cover with water; bring to boil and cook until tender. Cool under running water, peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside for use later. Heat butter in saucepot. Add tasso and corn and cook 10 minutes.

Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for additional 5 minutes.

Add Rotel tomatoes and Creole seasoning (or use accompanying recipe to make your own seasoning) and cook for 10 minutes, until water from the tomatoes has evaporated.

Stir in shrimp, heavy cream, Parmesan and cooked mirliton; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until cream thickens slightly.

Stir in green onions and parsley.

Serve each portion with one cup of cooked rice, pasta or polenta.

Makes 6 servings.

By chef Patrick Mould, Louisiana Cooking School & Cajun Store in St. Martinville, La.

Sunday, August 20, 2000

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