Ayote is a hard squash from Central America also known in other Latin American countries as calabaza and auyama, and in the U.S. as winter squash. This recipe is made with chayote, a gourdlike fruit that was once a staple of the Aztec and Mayan diets. Nicaraguans also prepare this dish with a popular squash, pipian similar to yellow squash or zucchini (see Variation). Annatto powder adds a striking orange color to this savory side dish. Use a food processor to easily mince bread slices into large-sized crumbs.
- 1 cup roughly chopped white bread (no larger than bread crumbs), about 2 slices
- 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- 2 1/2 cups peeled, chopped chayotes (about 2 medium)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (7.6 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ Media Crema or table cream
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped or 3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
- 1 teaspoon ground annatto powder
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups hot, cooked white rice
SOAK bread in evaporated milk and 1/2 cup water in small bowl. Place chayote in medium pot with salt and remaining 1 cup water. Cover; cook on low heat about 25 to 30 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain; set aside. Stir Media Crema into bread mixture.
MELT butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic, tomato, pepper and onion. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add chayotes and reserved soaked bread mixture. Stir in annatto. Cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot rice.
VARIATION: For Guiso de Pipian, substitute 2 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 medium) for chayote. Follow recipe as directed, but cook zucchini in salt and water for about 15 minutes, instead of 25 to 30 minutes.