My apologies for the extended suspense about how my mofongo turned out. Judging by the breakdowns of first my stove and then my internet connection (and also my glasses. It's been a tough week around here.), there are forces that don't want you to read this post. Unless Blogger goes down, I think they've failed.
So, mofongo. It's a traditional Puerto Rican dish: mashed green plantains--usually deep fried, but baked or steamed if you want a healthy version--mixed with some olive oil, some finely chopped garlic, a pinch of salt, and mashed chicharrones. That's the basic version and I stuck with it for this test batch.
During frying, the goal is to cook the plantains, but not to crisp them. I deliberately overcrowded the pan to discourage browning, but I wasn't entirely successful. I'm really starting to dislike these electric stoves. Give me a gas stove and I'll stop with the over- and under-cooking everything. The browned edges made mashing a bit difficult so I chopped the cooked plantain slices up first to break them up.
Without an internet connection to do my final research I had to rely on memory as to how much of everything else to add. I'm happy with the Tablespoon or so of oil for the one plantain, but I think I went overboard with the garlic. About a 1:2 ratio of pork rind to plantain seems about right, though.
Here's a typical presentation. The mofongo molded to stand up in a shallow pool of a well-flavored homemade chicken broth and topped with shrimp and a little hot sauce. You can also chop up the shrimp (or chicken or whatever) and use them as filling and then float the mofongo in soup like matzo balls, but I'm not going to that sort of trouble.
Huh, I don't get it. I overdid it with the raw garlic so maybe that's throwing me off. The chicharrones lose their crunch when mashed up and mixed into the moist concoction and their flavor diluted with the other ingredients. I don't see what the plantains add to this dish. They're awfully bland and fall apart in the soup to a sort of moist turkey stuffing sort of texture. It's not great.
I've double-checked and, other than the excess garlic, I made this by the book. But people do voluntarily pay for and eat mofongo and they wouldn't for what I just made so I don't know what the deal is. I guess I have to go out and get some so I can properly compare and contrast.