121. My love for Puerto Rican food continues to grow with each delicious dish and meal I experience. Last week I spent an entire afternoon cooking in my friend's kitchen. We met together to talk. As I sat over a cup of delicious coffee, my friend asked if I was busy. Busy...I'm always busy...she asked if I had an extra 3 hours...so we could cook together!!! Of course I have time to cook. Sylvia was so delighted and as we finished our breakfast and talked, she began to bring out the rice, peppers, chicken, beans, beef knuckles and her special Puerto Rican pot. She involved me in each step so she could teach me the process.
As I walked out of Sylvia's front door, laden with pans of beans and rice and chicken, I also took home 4 plantains.
Sylvia told me of a recipe to make with plantains and told me to wait till the plantains start to turn black...as they ripen, they become more tender and sweeter. The recipe is constructed like a lasagna. Or, considered a casserole in Puerto Rico.
Pinono or Puerto Rican Pastelón
4 or 5 ripe plantains, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 pound ground beef or ground pork, lean preferably
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
5 Tblsp tomato sauce
I recipe Sofrito
1 packet Sasón, opt
salt and pepper
1 Tblsp capers
2 eggs + 1 Tblsp water, mixed till foamy
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Peel and slice the plantains and heat a large skillet adding the olive oil.
Place the plantains in the pan and saute till browned, turn and brown lightly and remove to drain on a paper towel.
Wipe the skillet and add olive oil till hot, add ground beef and brown. Drain all liquid from meat. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes, continue by adding garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, sofrito, sasón,
salt and pepper and capers.
Blend all together and saute for another 3 minutes. Set aside.
Oil a casserole dish and begin layering plantains in the bottom of the dish.
Cover with a layer of meat mixture,
Then very lightly drizzle egg mixture back and forth over the meat. This helps to bind the ingredients. Continue by layering plantains and meat and drizzle remaining egg mixture.
End with the mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in a 400º oven for 15 to 20 minutes or till bubbly.
Emeril's recipe for Pinon or Beef Pie
This was one more reason why Puerto Rican food receives my applause.