Preheat oven to 425°F.
Using sharp knife, cut both ends off plantains. Cut shallow slit down long seam of plantains, cutting only as deep as peel. Brush plantains with oil and arrange on parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
Bake, turning halfway, for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender enough to pierce with a fork.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir together rice, black beans, refried beans and cotija cheese until blended.
Let plantains cool slightly and remove peel completely. Cut a slit, lengthwise, down curved side of each plantain, being careful not to cut all the way through. Using 2 forks, gently pull each plantain open to form a “canoe” shape. Using flat side of fork, press down on plantain to widen the canoe for filling. Transfer back to baking sheet and season with salt.
Evenly stuff each plantain canoe with rice mixture, dividing evenly. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until filling is heated through.
Sprinkle with tomato and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Alternatively, serve stuffed plantains with drizzle of sour cream and chopped avocado.
Plantains are often compared to large bananas, and they vary in color ranging from green, yellow or almost black. They are generally used like a potato rather than a fruit. They are often fried as chunks or thinner chips and served as a side dish throughout the Caribbean. They’re also staples in Africa, South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and in Central and South America.
Unripe green plantains will feel hard with an earthy inside. At this stage, they are most similar to a vegetable, and have zero hint of sweetness. During this stage they’re very starchy and are best for slicing or frying to make chips. Green plantain can also be boiled and mashed to be used as a starchy base, or sliced into stews like you would a potato. When they are green they can be very difficult to peel and the sap will stain anything it touches. Take care while preparing them.
At the next stage of ripeness plantains will start to turn yellow, getting sweeter and softer. Eventually, they will turn black when fully ripe and soft. Riper plantain can also be fried (the flesh caramelizes when ripe, different to the chips made with green plantain), grilled in strips or baked in its skin like a potato. Fried ripe plantain will crisp and brown on the outside and have a soft, yielding interior that is almost custard like; baked plantain can be eaten as a savory dish topped with salsa and soured cream, or sweetened with caramel or brown sugar and ice cream. A delicious savory dish to try would be this: Dominican Sancocho Stew.
If you are looking for an option to satisfy your sweet tooth then try: Plantain and Rice Rellenitos
If the plantain is green then it cannot be peeled like a banana. The skin is liable to come off and leave all the inedible pith on the flesh. This pith will not cook down, so it should be removed. The easiest way to prepare a green plantain is to cut it into chunks and then slice off the skin and pith with a knife. Cook the plantain quickly once you’ve prepared it, as it will start to oxidize.
Yellow plantains can usually be peeled like a banana. Whatever color of plantain you use, cut off both ends, as the flesh is usually tough.
If you want to fry the plantain then cut each end off the plantain and peel back the skin. Cut into ½ cm slices on a diagonal to give you a larger surface area. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry the plantain on each side for a couple of mins until it starts to caramelize, ensuring it doesn’t burn. If you do prefer to fry the plantain then you should try our Rice with Fried Plantains or an Arroz con Coco and Fried Plantains.
If you want to bake the plantain then heat the oven to 395ºF. Slice the ends off the plantains and cut a slit along the length of each. Put the plantain on a baking sheet, cut-side up, and bake for 30-40 mins or until tender. Open the plantains out a little and spoon half the butter into each with some seasoning and the chili flakes. Bake again for 10 mins, squeeze over the lime and serve.
Check out our blog post here and discover more incredible ways to prepare plantains.
For other recipe ideas try our tacos dorados tonight! Your family will be begging for seconds!