Quimbombó con plátano a la sefardí (Sephardic Okra with Plantains)
This recipe is a great example of fusion present in Cuban cooking: okra and plantains, both native to Africa, mingle with flavors of Spain and Turkey, along with the cachucha pepper, native to Cuba. Photo and illustration by Marcella Kriebel.
- 1 pound okra
- Hot water
- 2 limes
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- Black pepper to taste
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine (vino seco)
- 1 sweet cachucha pepper, stem removed, quartered
- 2 very ripe (almost completely brown) plantains
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 12 ounces chicken broth
- Cooked white rice (for serving)
- Cut and discard the ends of the okra and slice all into rounds. Soak the sliced okra in hot water with the juice of two limes. (The acid from the limes helps reduce the okra’s slimy texture.)
- Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot, and make the sofrito: combine the onion, garlic, tomato sauce, wine and cachucha pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Heat the plantains in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes or cook in boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes to soften. Cool. Mash the plantain with ¼ teaspoon salt, and with your hands, form 20 balls, each ¾-inch in diameter.
- Combine the sofrito and drained okra in the pot with the chicken broth and simmer until okra is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the plantain balls to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve with white rice.