Monday, March 14, 2011

Mofongo with Stewed Red Beans and Yucca, Salsa Criolla

Mofongo is a fried plantain dish from the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, all each with their own tweaks and nods towards the recipe.
Green plantains are always used although yucca could be substituted. I think plantains have more flavor to stand alone in a dish like this. Yucca has another place in this meal in the stewed beans. It is starchy and potato-like and can be prepared as such. I recently had some yucca chips that were just good. Also known as Cassava, this root vegetable is a little gnarly looking on the outside, but has great flavor once cooked.

Crispy plantains mashed with soft onions, garlic and cilantro soaked in hot broth and topped with a raw salsa. Red beans, anaheim peppers and yucca slow simmered in seasoned tomato broth.

2 green plantains, peeled, 1" chunks
sea salt, black pepper
2 1/4 cup vegetable broth
oil for frying
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbl freshly chopped cilantro

Soak the plantains in cold water with salt for 30 minutes.
Keep the broth over warm heat in a small saucepan.
Warm 1 tbl of oil in a large saute pan. Saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until just toasted and fragrant. Scrape the onions on a plate and add more oil to the pan, 1" deep, heat to 350.
Drain the plantains and pat dry so there is no splatter when they hit the oil. Deep fry the plantain until golden brown and tender. Drain, sprinkle with salt and transfer to a bowl.
Mash the plantains with the onions, garlic, 1/4 cup warm broth and 2 tbl of cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Form in balls or using molds in the middle of a plate. Pour the broth over the mofongo and let pool in the bottom of the bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Criolla Sauce
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice
1/2 tomato, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbl freshly minced cilantro
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Combine all of the ingredients and serve.

Stewed Yucca and Red Beans
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1 anaheim pepper, seeded, medium dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 small yucca, peeled, halved vertically, core removed, 1" dice
1-15oz can red beans, drained and rinsed
1-15oz can tomato sauce
2 tbl freshly chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a pot. Saute the onions and peppers until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and oregano, saute 2 minutes more. Add the yucca, red beans and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes until the yucca is tender. Taste to season and garnish with cilantro.

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