Mufongo and Shrimp

This weekend we will be covering the Dominican Republic in the Cooking Around the World class I am teaching at UTA.

The food in the DR shares a lot on common with food in both Puerto Rico and Cuba.  We visited Puerto Rico last year (the same trip were we went to the DR), and everybody told us to try the mofongo.  All the restaurant web sites said try the mofongo.  So we walked into a restaurant and declared we wanted mofongo.  What we got was dry and disappointing, and my husband declared he was never trying it again.  Mofongo is more of a base, like plain white rice, and isn't meant to be eaten alone.  So, since mofongo is also enjoyed in the Dominican Republic, I sent the hubby a grocery list, said it was for my class, and didn't tell him until we started cooking that we were making mofongo to go under the tomatoey shrimp.  This makes enough for two people. 

4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 slices bacon, cooked extra crispy
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 green plantains, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
1 tsp. salt

Pulverise the garlic in the olive oil, using a mortor and pestle.  Place the bacon in a large bowl.  Add the garlic and oil. 
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Add the plantains and fry until golden and softened.  Remove the plantains from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  After two or three minutes, toss the plantains in with the bacon mixture and mash the plantains into the oil until you get the text ure of chunky mashed potatoes.  Use the mortor as a mold, filling it with mofongo and inverting on the plate to serve.  Cover it with sauce.   Heat canola oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mash the garlic with the olive oil in a mortar and pestle. Combine garlic mixture with the pork rinds in a large bowl; set aside.

Camarones Guisados (Stewed Shrimp)

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
8 cloves garlic, pressed
1 lb.fresh large shrimp, deheaded, shelled and deveined
1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
good grinding of black pepper

In a heavy pot ofer medium high heat, heat the butter and olive oil.  Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic and cook until the bell pepper is soft, the garlic is fragrant and the onion is translucent.  Add the shrimp and cook through.  Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking for another five minutes.  Serve over mofongo or white rice.   

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