Monday, April 9, 2012

Latin Pork Casserole

So as I worked from home today, I got REALLY hungry around lunch time... then I thought, "Hey, a burger sounds good!" Because burgers always sound good to me. If they're made right. By right, I mean juicy, seasoned beef - preferably grass-fed - cheese, fresh tomato (or no tomato if it's not a good one), onion, lettuce....pickles and other things can come play, too. No bun, natch.

But then I was getting all excited about this recipe for Latin Lasagna with Beef and Plantains.  Except... I didn't want eggs in it. And I didn't have beef or raisins or half the other things they ask you to gather in the recipe. But I did have two plantains ripening on my counter and making Daniel sad when he realized they weren't bananas. And I am nothing if not resourceful... and Latin. Vamos a cocinar!

Puerco Molido con Platanos y Repollo (y Datiles... y cebolla.... y mas y mas)


- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- several cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed
- 2 plantains, peeled and sliced into thick rounds (~3/4")
- 1/2 head of cabbage (this is all I had in the fridge)
- 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 small can of Hatch chiles
- 3 dates, pitted and chopped 
- various spices as you see fit (I used Ancho chiles, smoked paprika, a little barbecue seasoning, salt and some chile powder)
- coconut oil, lard, some sort of fat


- Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
- Heat a pan on the stovetop and add some fat (I used bacon grease for this part). Cook down the onions and garlic a bit. Add your pork or meat of choice and cook till it's browned and mostly done. Set aside.
- Take the same pan, add some more fat (I switched to coconut oil), and add the plantains. Cook until they are browned on all sides.
- Slice up the cabbage into thin ribbons and arrange on the bottom of a Pyrex baking dish. 
- Dump the meat mixture in, followed by the plantains. Add the can of Hatch chiles, the dates, then the can of tomatoes. Add some extra spices if the spirit moves you. I also had half a mildly hot pepper hanging out so I added that in as well.
- Put the whole shebang in the oven and cook it for, eh, 20 minutes more or so. I'm super-hungry right now so as soon as I finish typing this I am going to check on it.

Of course this can take whatever direction you want... need to cook a bunch of kale? Dump it in. Chicken or beef? No problem. No plantains? Well use something else - butternut squash? (Trader Joe's has some awesome pouches of pre-diced squash. Not organic, but convenient). Change up the spices to Italian, or Middle Eastern or African.

... God I'm hungry!!!!


Repollo = cabbage
Datiles  = dates
Cebolla = onion
Puerco molido = ground pork
Platanos = plantains... and also a euphemism for male anatomy in Panama ;-) - in case you find yourself in need of that word, ever..

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