Get the best recipes for essential Puerto Rican dishes, including a mofongo with shrimp, Puerto Rican-style turkey and a pigeon pea and calabaza stew.
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Pigeon Pea and Calabaza Stew
In Puerto Rico, cooks use fresh pigeon peas, which aren't readily available in the mainland United States. The dried variety can take up to two days of soaking, but you can substitute 1/2 pound of brown lentils, which can be cooked right out of the bag in only 45 minutes.
Tostones--fried, smashed plantain slices--are a great variation on the toast used for the familiar hors d'oeuvre of smoked salmon and herbed cream. Soaking the plantain slices may seem like an unnecessary step, but it helps remove some of their starchiness and keeps them white.
While shooting his Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy Fieri stopped at Benny's Seafood in Miami to try mofongo, a Puerta Rican comfort food. "The chef pulled out a wooden pilon (a kind of mortar) as big as a tree trunk and filled it with fried green plantains, garlic, salt and chicharrones (crunchy pork rinds). Then he used a baseball bat to mash it together." The dish is served with chicken broth on the side or topped with meat or seafood, like the sauteed shrimp here.
Chef Bill Kim makes this curry-and-chile-spiced marinade inspired by lechon, a slow-roasted Puerto Rican pork dish that he learned from his mother-in-law. Because the flavors are intense, it's best to scrape off the marinade before grilling.
Basic red beans and rice recipes are ubiquitous in many cuisines for a reason: kidney beans soak up a ton of flavor and, when served over rice, will keep you full for hours. While some cooks use ham or sausage, this Puerto Rican-inspired meal uses bacon lardons.
This Puerto Rican-style sofrito (not to be confused with Italian, Caribbean, Cuban, Dominican, Colombian, Haitian or Mediterranean sofritos) is made with roasted bell peppers, onion and garlic and flavored with herbs.