Plantain turkey stuffing, also called Mofongo stuffing, is an excellent alternative to the traditional "bread and meat" dressing that's usually associated with a Thanksgiving turkey. This mouthwatering recipe is made from green, unripe plantains, bacon, garlic and ajíces dulces — sweet chili peppers. If you prefer ripe plantains instead, try Cuban fufu as an alternative.
A plantain is a member of the banana family. It's bigger and less sweet than a banana, and it's not particularly appealing in its raw form. Plantains are sometimes called "cooking bananas" because they're at their best when they're cooked. They grow in warm climates and are common in India and the Caribbean.
- Heat the oil to 375 F.
- Peel the green plantains and cut them into 3/4-inch slices while the oil is heating.
- Fry the slices in the hot oil for 3 minutes. They should be a light golden color and semi-soft.
- Remove the plantain slices with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
- When the plantain slices are cool enough to handle — usually about 1 minute — smash them into flat rounds.
- Fry the rounds in the hot oil for an additional 3 minutes. They'll turn crisp and golden brown.
- Remove the slices with a slotted spoon and drain again on paper towels.
- Mash together the bacon, garlic, peppers, onion and olive oil in a mortar and pestle. Add each ingredient a little at a time until everything is well incorporated.
- Add the broth. You can add more than 1/3 cup if the stuffing doesn't seem moist enough until you get the consistency that you prefer.
- Serve the stuffing as is, or use it to stuff your turkey.
Variations and Tips
- Plantains take a long time to ripen so you can safely buy them in advance of your meal or the holiday — they should still be green when you're ready to make this stuffing, particularly if you store them in the refrigerator.
- The temperature of the oil is important. Use a cooking thermometer to make sure it's at 375 F before you add the plantains. Take care to maintain the oil’s temperature while the plantains are cooking by checking it periodically. Adding any food to heated oil brings its temperature down.
- If you're a bacon lover, try sautéing the chopped onion in the bacon grease after you've prepared the bacon rather than adding raw onion to the mixture.
- If you want to serve the stuffing as a side, you can keep it warm in the oven until you're ready to set your holiday table. The onions and oil will prevent it from drying out.