Merliton Casserole

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Difficulty: Medium - experience needed


12 meritons, scrubbed; butter for greasing plus 2 sticks plus 2 tbsp ; 4 cu finely chopped onions; 6 lge cloves garlic minced; 6 bay leaves; 1/4 cu minced fresh parley; 1 med red and yellow bell pepper, finely chopped; 1 lb crabmeat, 1lb crawfish tails ,1 lb boiled shrimp coarsely chopped (I don't use crawfish, but you can use any or all of the 3); 1 tsp salt; 3/4 tsp black pepper , to taste; 3/4 tabasco (or crystal), to taste; 3tbsp worcestershire; about 2 1/2 cu seasoned italian bread crumbs


In lge pot, boil mirlitons until fork tender (about 45-60 min); cool, peel, discard pulp , seeds and chop intosmall pieces , put into colander to drain (drain well)

In large saucepan or dutch oven, melt butter,over high heat add onions and garlic, and saute(don't burn garlic); stir in mirilton,bay leaves, and parsley. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20mins, stirring to make sure it dooesn't stick. stir in bell peppers, then crabmeat/shrimp/crawfish, being careful to stir crabmeat in gently to not break it up. mix in salt, peper tabasco and worcestershire..

gradually add bread crumbs, to absorb all liquid. once done, mixture should be moist not wet. cook for 5 more minutes. remove bay leaves, and transfer to prepared pans (will need for this recipe 2 9x13 baking pans or large casserole.

for topping: sprink topevening w/ 3/4 cu bread crums and dot w/ pats of butter; bake uncovered until casserol is heated through and bubbly and top starts to brown (35mins.



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