Lovely Meal

Piononos are a Puerto Rican dish, typically sold by street vendors as a snack, although you can also find them in many restaurants served as a main meal. 

They are made with slices of ripe plantain forming an outer shell, stuffed with spicy minced meat, or other filling, dipped in egg and gently fried. 



SERVES 2 as a main meal

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  25 minutes for the meat filling + 15 minutes to fry the piononos

2 large ripe plantains  1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 tblsp cooking oil  1/2 beef stock cube
1 egg  1/2 onion, chopped
   10 green olives, chopped - no stones
 For the Meat filling:  1 tblsp raisins
 1/2 lb minced beef  1 garlic clove
 1/2 tin tomatoes Hot pepper sauce


Plantains look similar to bananas, but are usually bigger with more of a pointed end. There is also a certain technique required to peel the skins. The best way is to cut off both ends, score a couple of lines along the plantain lengthways, cutting through the skin to the flesh. The skin should then peel off easily.

Peel the plantains according to the above instructions - 1 plantain per person.

Carefully cut each plantain lengthways into four slices. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the plantain slices until just browned on each side - keep an eye on them, as they don't take long to brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

If you already have some meat sauce left over from making spaghetti bolognese or lasagne, so much the better. You then just have to reheat it and add a few raisins, chopped olives and hot pepper sauce.

Otherwise, to start from scratch, gently fry the onions in a little oil until softened. Add the minced meat and brown. Strain off any excess fat, add all the other ingredients and simmer for about 1/2 hour. You want your meat sauce to be fairly dry - if it's too watery, it will make it difficult to make the piononos.

Take cooked 2 plantain slices and bend round to make a circle, fixing the overlapping edges in place with a couple of toothpicks. Spoon some meat filling into the circle. Brush the ends of the filling with beaten egg. Repeat 3 more times - 2 piononos per person.

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and carefully place the piononos in the pan. Fry on medium heat for about 2 minutes until the brushed egg base looks like omelette. Turn over and continue to fry for a further 2 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with boiled potatoes and a green vegetable.