6 medium mirlitons, boiled, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 whole green onions, thinly sliced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and chopped
1 pound Polish sausage, small diced
¼ cup parsley, minced
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups homemade French bread crumbs
1 can chicken broth (if needed)
1 egg, well beaten
½ cup buttered cornflakes, crumbled
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
First, take your mirlitons and boil them whole in lightly salted water until an ice pick will pierce them all the way through without using excessive pressure. Then remove them from the pot and set them aside to cool (you can discard the water).
In the meantime, in a 5-quart Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the yellow and green onions, green and red bell peppers, celery, garlic, tomato and mushrooms until everything is soft and tender (which should take about 5 minutes).
While the seasonings are simmering, slice the cooked mirlitons in half lengthwise, and remove the center seedpods and throw them away. Then take a paring knife and carefully peel the outer skin away from the pulp. Once the skin is removed, dice the pulp into small pieces and set it aside as well.
At this point, preheat the oven to 325ºF. Then, turn the fire up under the Dutch oven to high, and drop in the shrimp and the chopped sausage. Within 2 to 4 minutes time, the shrimp will turn pink, which is exactly the way you want them — just pink, not cooked — and the sausage will brown slightly around the edges. When this happens, add the mirliton pulp to the mixture. Then stir the pot constantly for 10-15 minutes, cooking the pulp and the vegetable seasonings together over medium-high heat until a chunky paste forms (it may turn slightly watery, but don’t worry about it). When the texture is just the way you want it, drop in the spices and herbs: the parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Be sure to fold them well into the mirliton, shrimp and sausage blend.
Now it’s time to begin working the French bread crumbs into the casserole mixture (and this is best done a little at a time). When all the bread is added, you should end up with a rather dry paste that tends to stick to the spoon. If it is still too moist, add a few extra bread crumbs, because if the mixture is too wet it will run during the baking process. If, on the other hand, your stuffing mix turns out too dry, simply moisten it to your liking with a little canned chicken broth. Then when you’re satisfied with the final consistency, quickly stir in the egg to bind everything together.
Finally, transfer the mixture to a large casserole dish (I find that buttered Pyrex works best). Then liberally top the casserole with the buttered cornflake crumbs, slide the dish into the preheated oven on the center rack, and bake it, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping turns a toasty brown. All that’s left is to spoon out the hot casserole on warm dinner plates, garnish with a little shredded Parmesan cheese, and serve it piping hot right from the oven.