Frugal Family Feast: Plantain Ground Beef Torte

Savory meets sweet with a flavorful plantain ground beef torte. This Frugal Family Feast recipe will feed a family of four for less than $15.

Chef Marcela Guzman Galan, instructor at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, shared her technique with Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson. Watch the video and read on for the recipe.

Your finished torte is cheesy, gooey and flavorful. It’s a quick and easy dish to make for less than $15. If you’ve never had plantains before, you’re in for a treat.

Plantains are a cousin to bananas. You may be familiar with different plantain preparation: boiled like potatoes, flattened and fried into tostones, or fried with sugar as a treat. They’re a staple in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

You can find plantains in the produce section of most grocery stores year round, and they cost about 30 cents each. Their skin turns black when ripe and can be more easily peeled than when they’re green.

Plantains are meant to be cooked, and can be used in any stage of ripeness. They’re starchy and give this recipe body and texture.

Preparing the torte

Start by cutting the ends off four ripe plantains, scoring the skin and peeling. Then slice them thinly lengthwise. You’ll use them to layer between the meat and cheese.

Now you prepare the meat mixture, a version of picadillo, by cooking the ground beef with herbs, vegetables, tomato sauce and olives.

Next you butter a pan or baking dish. Chef Marcela used a bread pan to layer the plantains, beef, cheese and cream three times. The torte is baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, to let everything melt together.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Plantain ground beef torte – courtesy of the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe plantains cut in thin slices
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup celery, diced small
  • ½ cup olives stuffed with red peppers
  • 2 cups of diced sweet peppers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, torn off the stem
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • small pat of butter to grease the baking pan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.
  • Warm the oil in a pan.
  • Sautee the meat for three to four minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for another two or three minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for four to five minutes until the carrots and celery are soft.
  • Add the tomato sauce and the herbs and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.
  • Butter the pan and place slices of plantains at the bottom. Add one third of the meat sauce, one third of the heavy whipping cream and a third of the cheese. Repeat this process until all the ingredients are used.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Let it rest 10 minutes
  • Slice and serve.

After you try this recipe, go to our Facebook page and let us know how you like it.

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