These are lettuce wraps from a different direction. Chicken, chayote, and cilantro team up with creamy chipotle salsa, in a romaine wrap. Sprinkled with shredded cheese, they're decidedly delicious.
Here in Vermont, you don't run into chayotes very often. Coyotes yes, chayotes, no. I wondered whether I could plant this in my vegetable garden. It's just about that time; although it did snow on Wednesday, it didn't snow much. But I found that chayote are grown in Costa Rica, which isn't encouraging. The similarities between Costa Rica and Chester are few (they both begin with "C", etc.).....The only person I've known who spent time in Costa Rica was going down there to take care of parrots. Still, I'll plant anything, and I would love to grow this vegetable.
I've been looking into this Cucurbitaceae, since I grabbed it at the produce market. This is the same thing as a Mirliton, which I've often pondered while reading New Orleans cookbooks: a what? Whatever it is, I've learned that people down in New Orleans like to stuff them with....stuff.
However, this vegetable has a light and crisp quality that I think should be respected. So, for this and a number of other reasons, I decided to make a Southwestern lettuce wrap, with chayote as the star.
Drizzled with creamy chipotle sauce, it's fiesta time in Chester, Vermont.
Chayote Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Chipotle Salsa
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat removed, cubed
1 chayote, sliced into thick strips
1 medium onion
1 can diced tomatoes, juice reserved, or 6 italian plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
small bunch cilantro, leaves only
1 cup cream
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
Romaine leaves for wrapping
1. Brown chicken and onion in 2 T olive oil
2. Add garlic and continue cooking 1 minute
3. Add chayote, cook 2 minutes more
4. Add 2/3 of the can of tomatoes (no juice), ancho, cumin, several grinds of salt and pepper
5. Cook 1 minute, stir in the cilantro, then squeeze half a lime over the mixture
This is now ready to eat.
In a saucepan, combine the ingredients, bring to a quick boil. Stir, adjust seasoning, serve.
Put the romaine in a bowl and let guests load the leaves, apply salsa (and optionally cheese), roll up and enjoy!