Tostones with Beef and Caramelized Onion Toppings

It was only a matter of time before I decided to do a  THEME WEEEEEKKK!!!  And I’m not talking “ugly sweater” or “80’s theme”… this is SO much better.  It’s a FOOD theme… better yet, a cultural food theme.  Welcome to Dominican Food Theme Week at Like Write on Rice!!

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of visiting the Dominican Republic for a week.  What a beautiful, scenic country!  I had the bonus of travelling there with a local.  We started out in Puerto Plata which is on the northern part of the island.  Several years ago, this was the tourist mecca… now, not so much.  One of the employees at the resort was telling us nearly 13 resorts have closed since the economic downturn in 2008.  This country relies heavily on tourism as part of the economy so when the EU and USA were hurting, it showed in this country.

Now, the tourism spot is Punta Cana.  If you’re looking for gorgeous beaches and warm weather, the Dominican Republic should be on your list.  We decided to make the 6 hour drive from Puerto Plata to Punta Cana so that I could see the country.  I don’t recommend this.  It was OK since I was with a local, but I could very easily see this not being a safe activity for foreigners.  Just fly into Punta Cana, stay at a resort, and enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle in the safety of a resort.

One of the things I observed on our drive from Puerto Plata to Punta Cana was what I dubbed to be a “meat shack.”  Imagine a lemonade stand, but with raw meat.  People handling the food in 80+ degree weather without gloves or any regard to health standards (US health standards that is).  This moment made me decide I did not want to try the local cuisine in fear of getting sick.

Luckily, I know some Dominicans, so back in the safety of my kitchen I was able to learn a few Dominican dishes that I’ll be sharing with you here.

Ingredients:
1 green unripen plantain
¼ lb beef (I used carne asada beef because that was what they had at the store)
Bijol
Salt
Pepper
¼ onion sliced
Canola Oil (for deep frying)
Splash of a beer
Cilantro (optional)

Equipment: Tostonera

Directions:  Peel your plantain and cut into 1 in pieces.  In at least 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees, fry plantain pieces for approximately 3 minutes.  Remove.

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Smash individually in the tostonera.

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Throw smashed tostones back into the oil to fry for another 3-4 minutes.

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Meanwhile, season beef with salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and Bijol seasoning.  Grill a medium-high temp until cooked (depending on cut of meat, this should only take a couple minutes or less per side).  Once cooked let rest.  Put onions on grill or in pan to caramelize.  Towards the end I deglazed the pan with a splash of Pacifico beer.   Assemble meat and onion on tostone.

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Buen provecho!  Have you had plantains before?

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