A good bolón de verde (boh-LOHN deh VEHR-deh) and a cup of black coffee, a.k.a., un cafecito are a superb way to start your day. Traditionally eaten for breakfast, these green plantain dumplings are consumed throughout the entire country, and are affordable and accessible to the entire Ecuadorean population.
My nana used to make these for breakfast at least once a week – we rotated between bolones and empanadas (or tortillas) de verde for breakfast. I also had my “own coffee” when I was young – yes, I was drinking coffee by the age of 6. For some reason, it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal back then, especially in Ecuador. My nana made my coffee quite diluted, so I wasn’t bouncing off the walls. She also steeped cinammon sticks and added a bit of sugar – it was delicious.
Bolones de verde are usually stuffed with queso and chicharrones (chee-chah-RROH-nehs). Unlike what you see in the grocery stores, in Ecuador chicharrones are not pork cracklins, but actual pieces of pork meat that are deep fried to a crisp. Utterly delicious, not healthy at all! Over the summer, we went to an Ecuadorean festival in the area and had some chicharrones – the last time I had them was in Ecuador, about 13 years ago. Tears streamed down my face - I was overjoyed! Then I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill for an hour…
Since I didn’t have chicharrones, I used chorizo. The traditional version consists of stuffing the green plantain dumplings with cheese and chicharrones. I remember my nana making them this way, as well as mixing the cheese and the chicharrones with the smashed plantains and make a ball out of it, which is the way I chose to do for this recipe. Please be careful when peeling the plantains; the skin is very hard. Cut slits lenghtwise on the plaintain, and then peel in sections. I also recommend wetting your hands when forming the dumplings to hold them together. They were a little bit tough to keep them from crumbling; you may choose to add a little bit of water to the plantain dough, similar to when making the empananadas de verde. Let me know how you liked this. Enjoy!
Bolones de Verde
(makes 6, depending how big you make them)
4 large green plantains
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz of queso (Mexican cheese), crumbled
4 oz of chorizo, casings removed and chopped (I use a Colombian chorizo I found in my grocery store, about 2 links)
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil for frying
Peel the plaintains and chop them in small pieces. Heat some vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the plantains until cooked.
In a separate pan, fry the chopped chorizo until crispy.
Transfer the fried plantains to a large bowl and smash using a potato smasher or a ricer. Add the butter. Smash until you achieve somewhat of a smooth consistency. I like leaving some chunkier pieces. In this step, you can add a little bit of water – just a few tablespoons – to make the dough smoother. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once smashed, add the cheese and the fried chorizo to the plantain dough.