The beach roads in Puerto Rico are lined with stalls where you can get all sorts of delicious fritters and snack foods. Pionones, the island’s answer to hamburgers, pair ground beef with fried yellow plantain strips.
For Beef Filling:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1/2 cup stuffed green olives, chopped
Salt & pepper
Ground chipotle peppers
2 ripe plantains (just turning yellow), peeled
3 cups of chili, picadillo or vegetarian filling option
Adobo sauce or hot sauce
To make a filling, heat oil in pan. Add onion and cook until very soft. Add beef and stir until browned. Add tomatoes, jalapeno pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in capers and olives. Season with salt, pepper and ground chipotle peppers to taste. Filling can be made a day or two ahead. The flavor mellows when allowed to age.
Cut plantains lengthwise into long slices, 3 or 4 per plantain. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Cook a few plantain slices at a time for 4-6 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, bend each slice into a circle and secure with a wooden toothpick. Place rings on a greased cookie sheet. Stuff rings with filling and drizzle on a little bit of adobo sauce or hot sauce. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes or until hot. Makes 6-8 rings.
Photo by Dan Mayers.