Puerto Rican cooks often stuff baked plantains with ground beef. Instead, chef Jose Enrique likes to contrast the plantains’ sweetness with a savory mix of lamb, eggplant, tomatoes and feta.
Slideshow: Latin American Recipes
Eight 1/4-pound, very ripe yellow plantains
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups finely diced eggplant
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Plain yogurt, preferably goat, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a sharp knife, shave 1/4 inch lengthwise off the bottom of each plantain so they sit flat. Slit the tops lengthwise; gently open the peels to expose the fruit. Using a spoon, scoop about 2 tablespoons of the fruit out of each plantain to make room for the stuffing.
Brush the plantains all over with oil and season with salt. Arrange them slit sides up on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the plantains are very tender; let cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the tomato, eggplant, onion, green pepper, garlic and a large pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the lamb and cumin and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until no trace of pink remains, about 7 minutes. Stir in the 2 tablespoons each of parsley and cilantro and season with salt.
Spoon the filling into the plantains and sprinkle the feta on top. Bake the stuffed plantains for about 10 minutes, until heated through and the cheese just starts to melt. Transfer the plantains to a platter and garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro. Serve with yogurt.
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