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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Stuffed Plantains

By now you all understand when I say 'plantain', right? It looks like a banana, a very large banana, but is nothing like a banana once you take the peel off. They are also known as platano macho in Spanish. If you have not eaten one, then march right down to your produce store and pick up some. However, don't start munching on them on the way home in the car! They need to be cooked before they are palatable.

Today, I challenge you to make this simple yet delicious main course recipe. It is sweet and savory all at the same time....a traditional Mexican combination.

To begin you will be boiling the peeled and sliced plantains then pureeing them, so not necessary to have pretty slices.

4 plantains, almost ripe, peeled and thickly sliced (see note below)
½ teaspoon salt – for boiling water
2 eggs
¼ cup flour
oil for frying

1½ cups refried beans, either homemade or canned

1 cup sour cream

Boil enough water to cover the plantains. When the water has come to a boil, add the salt and plantains. Boil until they are fork tender. Remove with a slotted spoon to a blender or food processor. Discard the boiling water.

After the plantains are pureed and have cooled slightly, add the eggs and flour. Pulse until well mixed. Form the dough into 24 patties thick patties. Stuff the patties with 1 Tablespoon refried beans, shaping the dough around the beans to enclose.

Heat the oil until it is very hot but not smoking and fry the patties, turning once. Drain on paper towels. (remember not to crowd the pan – the oil cools down and will only leave you with a gooey mess)

Serve 2 or 3 patties per serving. Serve with sour cream and a side green salad.

How in the heck do I know if it is ripe? I heard you......

The peel of the plantain will be dark brown or almost black. Dark on a plantain is good. Yellow is NOT ripe. The skin can also look wrinkly. (is that a word?) This is also a good thing.

Feel it. Does it 'give' under a mild squeeze? If so, it is ready; if not, leave it on the counter for a few more days. Plantains are not like bananas which ripen in just a couple of days. Plantains can take almost a month to fully ripen from that yellowy banana color.

You can also freeze fully-ripe plantains for later use. Peel and either place whole in a freezer bag or slice them up. They are great with ice cream or blitzed up into a cream as a topping for fruit or cake – like a spice cake!

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