Choko Chanel

In all honesty, some of the best ingredients I’ve ever found are right on my doorstep – take the local produce offerings nestling in the Honesty Boxes of the Northern Rivers for example. Here they are, just crying out for a home and hopefully, a tasty recipe to showcase their loyalty to the season.

So pack up your bestie, your favourite shopping bag and a handful or two of coin and set about on a seasonal, local journey of inspiration. Afterwards, swing by the Harvest, Newrybar for a fireside tipple and few pages of inspiration from Maggie Beer’s Harvest and see what you can come up with.

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Choko Chanel

Despite being a gourd – which traditionally grow on a stem close to the ground – chokos are the social climbers of the vine world. Plentiful in Australia, they are also known as chayote, christophe, xuxu and belong to the cucurbitaceae family, as do melons, zucchinis and pumpkins. These ridged vegetables’ appearance can often deter the uninitiated cook, however they are delicious and lend themselves to some very tasty dishes indeed.

2 small chokos, skin on
½ teaspoon organic butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 rashers lean, gluten free bacon, finely sliced – optional
2 slices gluten free bread, crusts removed, cut into cubes

Dressing
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½  teaspoons Dijon mustard
200 ml extra virgin olive oil
½ butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn roughly

  • Boil chokos in plenty of water for 20 minutes, skin on.
  • Remove from pot and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat butter in a small heavy based skillet.
  • Add thyme and bacon and cook gently until transparent.
  • Remove from pan with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • Using the same pan, heat residual bacon fat.
  • Toss in bread cubes and toast until they become crispy croutons. Set aside.
  • Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Slice chokos into 1 cm slices and add to dressing.
  • Allow to stand for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Then toss with thyme, bacon, croutons and butter lettuce to serve.
Kinda like a Caesar, only better!
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