There are eight school days left until the end of the year. Eight. Then I will have tackled year one of teaching. And to think some crazy parents out there trusted me with their children for an entire year. Wow.
The end of the school year means summer and summer means a lot of time on my hands. While I have big plans to prepare for next year, I also have big plans to take care of myself. To go to the gym, to cook real dinners, to watch a movie without falling asleep in the middle, to go out for a drink on a weeknight. It will be epically beautiful.
Said time on my hands though, also brings to the surface this uncurable travel itch. Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala–the country where I learned to make rellenitos–is calling my name. So begins the epic battle between money and my heart. Even if Guatemala doesn’t end up in my summer plans thanks to my bank account, transporting myself there via these rellenitos certainly will.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 plantains, cut in half (the peels should be black)
1 cup drain black beans
1/4 cup liquid from beans
3 oz milk chocolate
Fill a pot with 6-8 cups water. Add sugar and cinnamon and whisk until frothy. Gently place the halved plantains in the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, continue to boil plantains for another 5 minutes. Using a fork, remove the plantains from the pot. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the peel. Place the flesh of the plantain in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. (Do not walk away from the food processor as the plantains puree quickly. If they become overly pureed they start to liquify, in which case the only solution is to run to the grocery store, buy more plantains, and start over.)
In the bowl of a food processor (Yes, you need to wash out the bowl between uses. Sorry.), puree the black beans with their liquid until the mixture is smooth. Meanwhile, in a saute pan, melt the chocolate over low heat stirring constantly. (If you have a double boiler, now would be a good time to employ it.) Once the chocolate has melted, mix in the beans until well combined. Remove from heat.
Add vegetable oil to the bottom of a saute pan so that it makes a thin layer. Heat until the oil begins to shimmer. As the oil is heating, take a spoonful of the plantains and spread it in the palm of your hand. The puree should be about a quarter of an inch thick. Add a heaping teaspoon of the black bean chocolate mixture in a line in the center of the plantain puree. Fold the plantains over the black bean chocolate mixture to make an oval shaped dumpling. Place in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a fork or spatula, flip the rellenito and fry for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Serve immediately or toss in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.
Continue the process of forming rellenitos and frying until you have used up all the pureed plantains and/or black bean chocolate mixture. You may need to add more oil as you continue to fry.