Do you ever just want to do something completely different in the kitchen? Something that will stretch your and your family’s tastebuds beyond their comfort zone? Well, I do. And I’ve got to tell, it turns out to be a really good thing for the most part. (The flops are on the never-to-be-mentioned again list.)
This dinner definitely falls into that really good thing category. I’ve used plantains several times in the past but it’s been quite a few years. In fact, it’s been long enough that none of the kids remember trying one in the past. So it was an adventure for them, and one that they willingly embarked on. In fact, two of the four kids even went back for seconds.
Caribbean Pork Stew
- 1 T. oil
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. pork, cubed ( I used boneless, top loin chops)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. freshly grated ginger (optional, although it does add a nice kick)
- 2 t. cumin
- 1/4 t. allspice
- 1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 c. beef stock
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 c. fully-cooked black beans (or 2 cans, rinsed and drained)
- 2 plantains, peeled and cubed
- 3 c. cooked rice
1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add pork and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add onions, peppers and garlic to pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add ginger, cumin, allspice and crushed for red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Add stock, water and diced tomatoes. Return pork to pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Let simmer about 45 minutes, until pork is tender.
3. Add beans and plantains. Cook an additional 15 minutes, at least. The longer you let this simmer, covered and over low heat, the stronger the flavors will become.
If you’ve never used a plantain before, you might be surprised to realize that it doesn’t peel easily like a banana. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to peel a plantain with the traditional method. What I’ve found to work best is to cut the unpeeled plantain into slices.
Then, I cut a slit in each individual slice and the peel peels right off.
There might be easier ways out there, but this is what seems to work best for me.
What do you do to mix things up in the kitchen? Do you ever try “exotic” ingredients? I’d love to hear your stories.
This post is being linked to: