My experience in DR was not exactly as planned. I had just found out I was pregnant a month prior to my trip. Mixed with nausea and all the fun stuff females go through while pregnant, I wasn’t able to enjoy the food or activities. With that being said, I’m lucky enough to have close friends who are Dominican and who introduced me to home cooked Dominican food. They would bring potato salad with beets, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), or Sancocho, Dominican stew. One of my favorite dishes is Pastelon, comparable to a lasagna but typically made with sweet plantains and ground beef. Since I stopped eating beef years ago, I substituted this dish with ground turkey and let me tell you…. it is just as amazing.
7 yellow, ripe plantains
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Sofrito (I bought pre-made)
20 oz ground turkey (I used organic 93% lean)
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp Asian mushroom seasoning
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning or herb of choice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup pimento stuffed olives
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups (8 oz) four cheese blend
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make a couple of cuts on the plantain for ventilation, place on baking sheet and place in oven for 30-40 minutes until tender and easy to mash.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the filling. Heat a medium-large plan on medium, add oil. When hot, off Sofrito and cook for 5 minutes. Then add ground turkey and cook until for 10 minutes, breaking up the pieces while you cook. Add tomato paste, water, cumin, Italian seasoning, mushroom seasoning, and olives. Cook on low for 10 minutes for the flavor to blend, then shut off heat and add cilantro.
Remove plantains from the oven and let it cool enough to touch. Take the peel off and mash the plantains.
Assemble with 1/2 plantains on the bottom, then turkey filling, the rest of the plantains, topped with cheese on top.
Bake in oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Serve warm, garnish with cilantro.