South American - Empanadas de Verde con Queso -
Plantains are a major food staple in West & Central Africa(Cameroon & DR Congo), Central America, Caribbean Islands & northern, coastal parts of South America (Colombia & Venezula).
The "dough" for these empanadas de verde are made with green (unripe) plantains, which are starchy enough to hold their shape when stuffed with cheese. Green plantains are less sweet than ripe ones and have a unique, savory flavor that can only be appreciated when cooked.
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- green (unripe) plantains
- 2 Tbsp
- vegetable oil
- 1 tsp
- 1 tsp
- garlic salt
- egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp
- lard or butter
- 1 1/2 c
- grated queijo de brasilia cheese ( or monterey jack, cheddar)
- 2 Tbsp
- requeijao or cream cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for frying
1Peel two of the plantains and cut them into 1 inch pieces.
2Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook plantains until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
3While plantains are cooking, sauté onions in vegetable oil with one teaspoon cumin and garlic salt until translucent and fragrant. Set aside and let cool.
4When plantains are tender, drain and place hot plantains in a bowl with the butter (or lard). Mash plantains thoroughly. Add the egg yolk and mix well.
5Peel the remaining two plantains and grate with a cheese grater. Mix the grated plantain into the cooked plantains and knead them together to make a smooth dough.
6Add a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a bit of ground pepper to season the dough. If mixture is too dry to come together in a dough, add a little more butter or a tablespoon of water. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
7Mix grated cheese with onions and cream cheese to make the filling.
8Take a piece of plantain dough slightly larger than a golf ball and flatten it into a rough circle between to pieces of plastic wrap.
9Place some of the filling in the middle, then fold the plantain dough over the filling to make a semi-circle.
10It helps to wet the edges of the circle with water before pressing them together. Shape the dough into a neat semicircle, sealing the edges as much as possible.
11Heat several inches of oil in a deep pan to 360 degrees.
12Fry empanadas in batches until dark golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Serve warm.