Sofrito Beef, Stuffed Mofongo

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m married to a WONDERFUL man, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Now, being married to a Latin man has both its blessings and curses, as I’m sure some of you may know (now as an Italian female, I have quite the balance sheet myself!) One of the many blessings, is the cuisine, but let me make something perfectly clear, it doesn’t come from him! My husband adamantly REFUSES to cook. Now it’s not that he can’t cook, he’s actually quite decent. He just HATES it. Luckily on my rough days, he’ll pull out one of my recipes, follow it to a “T,” and take one for the “T”eam. I’ve mentioned he’s wonderful, right? Anyway, since Latin is part of his culture, I have had to broaden my horizons when it comes to the kitchen, since I always believed the goal of every wife was to cook as well as her Mother-in Law. The problem is, I was at a major disadvantage. Luckily, most Spanish food is inherently gluten free. I learned how to make all of his favorites: Aroz con Pollo, Churrasco con Chimichurri, Flan, Tres Leches (you can find my recipe for both my traditional Tres Leches, as well as my DAIRY FREE Tres Leches by clicking HERE,) and my favorite, Mofongo. Now, what is Mofongo, you may ask? It is mashed Plantains with Cilantro, Chicharrones (Pork Rinds, I leave these out due to pre-packages tendency to not being GF/SF/MSG Free,) Olive Oil, Seasonings, and I add Garlic…of course! Now, for those of you who have not been around Plantains…They are NOT the same as green bananas! Do not get confused. Plantains are a totally different variety of starch. If they are green, they taste awful raw, but there are many different ways to eat them Mofongo, Tostones, and Sweet Plantains (ripe/Yellow,) just to name a few. For this recipe we will be focusing on Dark Green Plantains (not ripe,) and making Mofongo. Did you know that Mofongo originated in Africa? Many people believe it came from the Caribbean. In fact it was the African culture that used various starchy vegetables and green/semi-ripe plantains. They were boiled (not fried, which is the common Latin method,) and then mashed, with a soup broth poured over it.

Now, every Spanish/Latin restaurant that he has taken me to (remember, he doesn’t cook,) “Stuffed Mofongo,” is served with the Mofongo like a bowl, and the meat served inside. I had decided by about the 4th time I ordered it, that I wanted to try and take it literal (most of my recipe ideas come from urges/frustrations like these.) I wanted a fully Stuffed Mofongo. So…here it is! I’m not going to lie, it is a challenge to mold. However, I did get it on my first try, so I know you can too! Never give up, never surrender!!

Equipment/Ingredients Needed:

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Ingredients:

Mofongo:

3 LG Green Plantains (per 2 large servings)
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro
3-4 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
!/8 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Adobo
or
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/8 tsp Pepper
Filling:
1 lb Ground Beef 80/20
3 tbsp Sofrito
1/2 cup Caramelized Onions
Directions:
1. Slice Plantain rind/peel vertically and run under running water, then remove peel.
2. Slice Peeled Plantain in 1/2 inch thick medallions, while heating oil in skillet.
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3. Fry in oil until brown freckles appear.
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4. Remove from oil, then drain on paper towels.
5. While the pieces are draining, begin caramelizing the 1/2 cup of onions, until opaque and slightly browned. Once Plantains are drained, place in bowl/mortar, 4-6 pieces at a time and mash, until only 1/3 of pieces are left (this will be your “bottom” of your Mofongo.)
6. Meanwhile, place Cilantro and Garlic into Food Processor/Blender and chop.
7. Place into bowl/mortar with Seasonings, 2/3 Herb mixure, and 2/3 tbsp Olive Oil. Mash/fold into Plantain mixture until a thick,chunky, mashed mixture is achieved.
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…Now the fun begins!!!
1. Find 2 bowls that are the “right size” for what you need. I made one Mofongo for my husband and I, then cut into it for “effect.”
2. Take first “mash” and mold around bowl on the bottom, then sides. I use a fork and rubber spatula for this.
3. Place onions first, then Sofrito Beef mixture.
4. Next mash the rest of your Plantain medallions in your second bowl bottom,with the remaining 1/3 Herb mixture, 1/3 tbsp Olive OIl, and Seasonings, creating a thick pancake shape.
5. This is one of the tricky parts! Take your rubber spatula and slowly work it between your Mofongo and bowl sides.
6. Once your sides are free, then slide the spatula under the Mofongo to free the bottom.
6. Next, take your “Mofongo Pancake” and place onto your original Mofongo “Bowl.” Push down very carefully to attempt a seal.
9. With a deep sigh and a prayer, put your hand over your bottom of your Mofongo to keep it together (as you flip it,) and get ready…1…2..3…FLIP! (Don’t forget to move your hand at the last minute.) Now hold your breath, and pull your mortar/bowl off slowly and careful to lift straight up. (SLOWLY!)
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10. YOU DID IT!!!
Now that the hard part is done…
Broth Ingredients and Directions:
Microwave or Stove Top Boil your favorite broth.
I prefer my favorite, delicious, gluten free, sulfite free, msg free, dairy free, AND vegan broth by Massel Foods. It is truly delicious!
1 cube Boullion
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/16 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Oregano
2 cups Water
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