Introduction: Turkey Sausage With Green Beans and Chayote Squash
A winter stew that gives an introduction to long beans and chayote squash. Learn to use more new vegetables; they're good for you.
Step 1: Base Ingredients
Coarsely chop two onions, two serrano chilis, and a handful of garlic.
Add the onions and chilis to a hot oiled pot, and stir until the onions start to soften. Reserve the garlic to add later so more of its flavor will come through at the end. (Alternatively, add the garlic now if you want it to be extra-subtle.)
Step 2: Chayote Squash and Long Beans
Wash the long beans and chop them into bite-size lengths. You can substitute regular green beans, but if you can get long beans this is a fine way to try them out.
They're a bit drier and sturdier than standard green beans, which makes them a good choice for dishes that cook longer or have a bit of sauce. As an extra bonus, they're faster to prep than an equivalent volume of regular green beans since they've got fewer ends to chop off. This is wonderful for those of us looking for shortcuts.
Chayote squash are native to the Americas, hold their shape well when cooked, and accommodate heavy spicing. The cooked texture is not unlike a raw cucumber, making for interesting variety in stews.
Step 3: How to Process Chayote Squash
Basically, treat the chayote like an apple.
Quarter it, slice out the seed, peel the skin off, then cut it into bite-size chunks. While both the skin and seed are edible, they're best removed for this use. The color and texture of the uncooked peeled chunks are similar to that of an underripe honeydew melon.
Step 4: Cook
Add the garlic, long beans, and chayote to the onion/pepper mixture, and stir as they heat. Add black pepper and a boullion cube; the salt will make the vegetables drop some of their water.
When the pot has come back to temperature add the turkey sausage. Break it up into small bits, and stir periodically to cook through. When the meat is cooked, add a handful of chopped fresh tomatoes. They'll drop some more juice, which should mingle nicely with the chayote juice.
Add some additional seasonings. I used a bit of chili powder, balsamic vinegar, and Worchestershire sauce. Other good options: fish sauce, sriracha chili sauce, anchovy paste, soy sauce, lemon/'lime juice.) You want to build up layers of spice (the serranos, black pepper, chili powder) and give some depth of flavor (the vinegar, worchestershire sauce, boullion cube).
Taste and modify the seasonings as necessary.
Step 5: Serve
This makes a good one-pot main dish stew, or a nice side dish for a more complicated meal. Like most stews, it tastes better after a stint in the refrigerator.
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