Today while making my breakfast of "bolon", a plantain cooked and enriched with chicharron (fried pork), mani (peanut butter) and cheese. It's a dish I first learned about from my wife who is from Ecuador. As well my brother in-law was famously named, "Rey" del bolon for his renowned version, with what he secretly confided to me on a visit was the "concentrado;" his approach in which the sucs and juices were added and absorbed into the awaiting plantain.
Anyway, after a visit to Ecuador, I never found anyone producing them here in the USA. So I taught myself and have since every so often when in the mood, make a batch at home or at work. It just happened this morning while browsing the headlines, I read about Ecuador defaulting on it's foreign debt accrued by corrupt former leaders and how the new President who wants to change the way banks hold nations hostage with there own draconian methods. While enjoying my rendition of this Ecuadorian comfort food, I reflected on how the current economic craziness would effect that nation, especially with the latest drop in oil prices since Ecuador is a nation that depends on selling natural resources like oil as much as bananas.
What will that mean to those there who struggle daily, the people? My tribute or my commiseration with my "Querido Ecuador" can be only a simple gesture; make bolon, a dish that incorporates simple components but gives comfort and goes really well with some great coffee, especially from Zaruma my wife's hometown.
Bolon (my gringo version)
2 green plantains
1 speckled maduro (yellow plantain, just getting some spots)
4-6 Tbsp oil
1 piece chicharron (I used some maple wood smoked bacon)
3 Tbsp cheese (queso fresco if you can get it in a Spanish market,buffalo mozzarella, or I like morbier, melts great!)
2 tsp peanut butter (I like chunky, if you just have peanuts crush them in a mortar to a paste or a blender!)
Salt to taste
Peel and cut plantains into 1 inch pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan, add in plantains till golden brown, drain on towel and place into a bowl. Add warm chicharron, crush with a malet for pounding meat or a pestle, add peanut butter. Finally add in cut in pieces of cheese to warm mixture, season with salt.Then form into a soft ball and serve with a piping hot coffee...enjoy y buen provecho.