Dish of the Week: Mofongo
Smash down the mofongo to create a bowl shape for chicken, beef, pork, or seafood stew.
Photo by Salina Canizales
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.
This week, we're covering a Puerto Rican classic: Mofongo.
Mofongo is a popular Caribbean dish made of unripened, fried (or boiled), and mashed plantains that are often mixed with broth, garlic, and chicharrones (deep-fried pork belly cracklins) and formed into balls. The dish can also be stuffed or smothered with chicken, steak, shrimp, lobster, and crab in a tomato gravy, at which point it's known as mofongo relleno.
The dish is actually an ancestor of fufu, a West African dish made with starchy root vegetables that was brought over to the island along with slaves during the Spanish conquest in the 1500s. Soon, fufu morphed with native cooking techniques -- including the use of plantains, sofrito (sautéed onions, peppers, herbs and garlic), and the mortar and pestle -- andmofongo was born. Chicharrones are a (much welcome) more modern day addition.
This recipe, from Chef Sergio Remolina of The Culinary Institute of America, uses a mixture of green plantains, garlic, chicharrón, bacon and chicken broth to make a simple, but classic version of the dish. Smother it with chicken, seafood, pork or beef stew for a heartier take on the meal.
Ingredients 4 green plantains 2 cups canola or olive oil Kosher salt to taste 6 garlic cloves 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 pound crisp chicharrón (learn how to make your own here) 1 slice of bacon, cooked 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock For topping: Chopped fresh cilantro; crushed chicharrón; chicken, pork, seafood or beef in tomato gravy
Peel plantains and cut into one-inch slices.
In a large saucepan or deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Add in half the plantain slices and fry for 7 minutes, turning once, until light golden but not browned. Drain on paper towels and repeat with other half.
In a large mortar or big bowl, crush garlic cloves with pestle or the back of a spoon and sprinkle with salt. Add olive oil to the mixture and keep pounding until it's well incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl.
In the same mortar or bowl, crush half of the fried plantain slices with half of the pork rinds, 1/2 slice of cooked bacon, and half the garlic oil. Pound or smash together until incorporated, adding up to 1/2 cup chicken stock, as needed, to make it moist.
Spoon the mixture and shape into two-inch balls. Keep the first half warm in oven and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Keep warm until ready to serve. Top as desired.
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