Papaya Pot Roast

Papaya Pot Roast was something I improvised because I had read that papaya has natural meat tenderizers and some website generally recommended trying this technique. It was really tasty, though it could use a bit of improvement. I'll write what I did and recommendations for future improvements and you can see what works best for you.

1 Giant papaya
1 lb meat for roasting (cheapest slightly streaky beef roast for me)
2 carrots peeled and sliced
2 ribs celery sliced
3 or 4 potatoes diced (next time, I think I'd parboil because they took forever to just bake)
1 onion diced (size determined by your preference)
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (I didn't use because friend is allergic)

  1. Dice up all your veggies and put them in a bowl with a lid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F or 175C and set the rack low enough so the uncut papaya has at least two inches from the ceiling.
  3. Dice up your meat into 1" cubes and add that to the bowl.
  4. Add the spices to the bowl and put on the lid. Toss the bowl contents until everything is evenly coated with the spices. Keep bowl covered and set aside. I went with sweet kinds of spices because I figured it was a fruit, but I think savory spices could be good instead (maybe cumin, chili pepper, black pepper, etc.).
  5. Grease a deep baking dish (glass is easiest to clean in my book) to make your cleanup easier. Ensure the papaya will fit lengthwise uncut.
  6. Prep your papaya: Wash the outside and lay it horizontally in the baking dish. Cut an oval out of the long side so that you have a bowl with a wide-mouthed lid. Scrape out the seeds from both parts of your papaya. The seeds are edible and have a peppery taste, so you can crush them and use them for seasoning, but the ones you are cleaning out now are in squishy sacs, so you'd probably have to use seeds from a prior papaya. Set the lid somewhere clean briefly.
  7. Put your bowl papaya back in the baking dish and fill it with the meat and veggies. You can fill it to the rim or a bit above because the lid papaya is somewhat hollow.
  8. Put the lid papaya on top, ensuring it is secure enough so it won't fall off in the oven.
  9. Bake at 350F/175C for several hours. As mentioned, my potatoes refused to cook even after four hours. The meat was definitely cooked before that. I usually just check periodically by cutting sample pieces. The skin of your papaya may look shrivelly and burnt, but the stuffing is still tender and juicy, so don't worry too much about appearances.
  10. When finished, you can either serve as-is with the lid off or scoop everything out into a bowl. The papaya has a pumpkin-like flavor and really matches well with the beef, so do scoop out plenty of papaya if you transfer to a serving bowl.

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