plain old good…
A dish I had never made before but used to be made by my late Grandmother Irene has been haunting my soul to try it. My granny never passed down her recipe for this.. .or anything she made. Not to me anyway. But I have a few dishes that hold dear memories of her such as Codfish and Potatoes, Christmas Pudding and this one,Paw Paw Casserole.
Paw Paw casserole was always served at her house on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. We would gather there once a year and eat and talk and wait for the Gombey Dancers to grace her street with their presence. my Gran Irene loved the Gombeys and she danced and dance and laughed and smiled each time they performed on the streets. Paw Paw casserole and Gombey’s go hand in hand to me because I only ate Paw Paw Casserole on boxing day and boxing day in Bermuda always drew the Gombey Dancers out to the streets.
Now, older and no longer residing in Bermuda I wish to bring some of my dishes in my family household and introduce them to foods that I grew up with.
This dish was very hard for me because I didn’t know exactly what Paw Paw was. I mean… I couldn’t find it here in the United States.. and people looked at me side eye when I asked about it. It wasn’t until a friend told me that pawpaw is the same thing as Papaya. They said we cook it before it ripens…while it is still in its green form. Despite reading this on the internet and being told as such…I still was skeptical…but…….. I saw this in Bermuda at the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo on my last visit home.
Then I was convinced.
I have a few recipes in Bermuda Cookbooks and I also reached out to a friend on Facebook for her recipe which included sage! YUM. However, I chose to keep it simple. Just as Gran Irene did. Then once I get the hang of it perhaps I would try different versions.
I was pleased with the outcome of this simple yet delightful dish.
This dish is basically prepared much like Scalloped potato.
Paw Paw Cheese Dish
source: adapted from Traditional Bermuda Recipes
2 Cups cheese, grated
6 cups green paw-paw
4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (I omitted)
pepper and salt to taste
Peel paw-paws and dice them. I kept them in slices as my Gran Irene did.
Cook in boiling, salted water till tender. But you don’t want them to be too tender that they break apart.
Place 3 cups of paw-paw in casserole dish and cover with 2 cups of tomatoes if you are using them.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add about 1 cup grated cheese.
Repeat the layer as above ending with the cheese as a final topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
You can find Paw Paw …known here in the USA as Papaya at your local Farmers Market. Note that the greenest Papaya I found was at Harry's Farmers Market… the greener the better!
Beautiful Paw Paw tree! Picture Credit to Tropical Plants and Decor.com