Mofongo Stuffing (Three Gluten-Free Options)

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When I realized I had a problem with gluten and stopped consuming wheat, the biggest loss to me had to be Thanksgiving stuffing. I had never been a big fan of bread, but there was something about stuffing that just hit all the right chords.  A little soft, a little crispy and always flavorful.

Throughout family history since I was old enough to squeeze my hand into a fist, my grandmother and mother delegated the stuffing preparation to me. It was our family tradition to toast the bread in the oven or leave it out in paper grocery bags overnight so it would stiffen, and then it was dunked in water and wrung dry like a dish towel. It was mushy and messy work. No wonder I was left with the chore. As much as I despised the methods of making it (“But mom, can’t we just buy the crumbs in the box like normal people do?”), I was never deterred from wanting a big pan of stuffing hanging around in the refrigerator for at least several days after Thanksgiving.

We also had another stuffing tradition, though we made it less often. Why? Well, before eating gluten-free came into vogue, it was hard to get Thanksgiving guests who didn’t have roots in the Caribbean Islands to understand that stuffing made out of a form of banana could possibly be worth eating. You have to trust me on this, mofongo stuffing is made from plátano, or plantain, but you would never know you are eating a form of banana when you enjoy this tasty stuffing.

mofongo stuffing

Our mofongo stuffing is pictured here in fusion form with 1/2 Cornish game hen and roasted carrots and parsnips.

 

Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish (one of my favorites) that is prepared by mashing fried plantains (tostones) with broth and bits of pork cracklings or bacon.  Our tostones recipe provides some simple shortcuts for making sauteed instead of deep fried plátanos.

Being that this website is dedicated to providing healthy tasty recipes, I am going to provide three options for making mofongo stuffing. The first is the classic recipe, the second is a healthier version that is a fusion between Puerto Rican mofongo and American Thanksgiving stuffing, and the third is a way to make this so it will taste close to a traditional bread stuffing. The clear advantage to making a mofongo stuffing when eating gluten-free is that it is a plant-based dish, which means that it is cleaner food than trying to concoct a stuffing out of some processed gluten-free bread product. Plus, it has the texture and taste of stuffing.

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Mashed tostones in the skillet with fresh onions, red bell pepper and cilantro.

 

Option 1 – Traditional Puerto Rican Mofongo Stuffing Ingredients:

(Makes 10 1/2 cup servings or 5 cup servings)

5 green plantains

1 lb. bacon

3 ajies dulces (sweet chile peppers) stemmed, seeded and chopped – substitute green bell pepper if you can’t locate ajies dulces

3 cloves chopped garlic or 3 tsp. minced garlic from a jar

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup chicken broth (or more if necessary to make the mofongo moist enough)

 

Instructions:

 

1. Peel the plantains by slicing through the skin on both sides of the plantain and then removing the peel. Cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds.

2. Melt the coconut oil in the skillet over medium – low heat (I get better results when I don’t rush them.)

3. Place plantain chips in the hot oil and fry until they turn a deeper yellow (not brown.)

4. Turn the plantain chips over. Sprinkle sparingly with sea salt.

5. Press the cooked side down lightly with your tostonera, saucer or bean masher. If they stick a bit, use a spoon to gently separate the chip from the utensil.

6. Repeat the procedure for the other side. Once the second side is darker but not quite brown, turn them over again and let cook until nicely browned.

7. Turn them once more to brown the other side.

8. Drain off the excess oil by placing your tostones on paper towel and blotting them.

9. Cook the bacon and tear or chop it into pieces.

10. In a non-stick skillet, saute the garlic and peppers over medium-low heat until caramelized, no longer than 4-5 minutes.

11. Mash 5-6 tostones at a time with about 1/5th of the melted oil. Repeat until all of the tostones are mashed. Add the caramelized peppers and garlic and combine. Add the chicken broth and continue to mash to create a texture close to lumpy mashed potatoes. If you watch the mixture carefully, you can let it cook until the underside lightly browns and crisps but doesn’t stick. It’s what we Puerto Ricans call “pegao.” To be successful at doing so, make sure your heat is low and it goes for just a minute or so more than when all the broth has reduced.

12. Place the mashed tostones (mofongo) in a prepared pan and bake covered for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. You may also stuff the turkey with mofongo stuffing so it can absorb the wonderful flavors of the bird’s juices. Follow the rules for stuffing a turkey, making sure not to overstuff.

 

Option 2 – Puerto Rican Fusion Mofongo Stuffing Ingredients:

5 green plantains

1/2 lb. uncured turkey bacon (I use Applegate Farms)

5 ajies dulces (sweet chile peppers) stemmed, seeded and chopped or substitute 2/3 cup green and red bell pepper if you can’t locate ajies dulces

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped

2 tsp. powdered sage

1 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. poultry seasoning

3 cloves chopped garlic or 3 tsp. minced garlic from a jar

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

(This recipe has a lower fat content and uses a healthier type of bacon.)

1. Prepare the tostones as described above.

2. Caramelize the peppers, garlic and onions in a non-stick skillet with a teaspoon or so of coconut oil. Add the torn bacon to the vegetables and cook along with them.

3.  Mash 5-6 tostones at a time with about 1/5th of the melted oil. Repeat until all of the tostones are mashed. Add the caramelized peppers and garlic and combine. Add the chicken broth and continue to mash to create a texture close to lumpy mashed potatoes.

4. Stir the caramelized vegetables and bacon mixture into the mofongo. Add the spices and combine.

5. Place the mashed tostones (mofongo) in a prepared pan and bake covered for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. You may also stuff the turkey with mofongo stuffing so it can absorb the wonderful flavors of the bird’s juices. Follow the rules for stuffing a turkey, making sure not to overstuff.

 

Option 3- Mock Thanksgiving Stuffing Made with Mofongo Ingredients:

(makes 12 1/2 cup servings or 6 cup servings)

6 green plantains

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

2 tbsp. powdered sage

1 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. poultry seasoning or Bell’s Seasoning 

3 cloves chopped garlic or 3 tsp. minced garlic from a jar

1/3 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup chicken or turkey broth

salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

1. Prepare the tostones as described above.

2. Caramelize the celery, garlic and onions in a non-stick skillet with a teaspoon or so of coconut oil.

3.  Mash 5-6 tostones at a time with about 1/5th of the melted oil. Repeat until all of the tostones are mashed. Add the caramelized peppers and garlic and combine. Add the chicken broth and continue to mash to create a texture close to lumpy mashed potatoes.

4. Stir the caramelized vegetables into the mofongo. Add the spices and combine.

5. Place the mashed tostones (mofongo) in a prepared pan and bake covered for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. You may also stuff the turkey with mofongo stuffing so it can absorb the wonderful flavors of the bird’s juices. Follow the rules for stuffing a turkey, making sure not to overstuff.

 

Note: If you add sausage or chestnuts to your stuffing recipe, please add it to the mock stuffing recipe as you normally would.

Mofongo stuffing can be stored and reheated in the same manner as bread stuffing, and moistened with a little broth. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply msedano November 8, 2013

    our answer is a meat- and mushroom-based stuffing.

Your thoughts?

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