In February of 2010, we were in Puerto Rico to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. What better way to celebrate than to get away from the cold and enjoy the sun, sand & food of this beautiful Caribbean island. The best part of the vacation was our overnight trip to the little island of Vieques off of the eastern coast of the mainland. If the pristine beaches & the lack of McDonalds/Walmart etc aren’t enough, Vieques is home to the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Its hard to see anything more spectacular than that and any visit to PR is incomplete without a bio-bay tour. There’s plenty written about it that you can find online. Unfortunately we couldn’t click any pictures but any pictures you find online would be very close to the actual experience.
We made a reservation for the last trip going out at 9 pm. Since we’d had a late lunch, we weren’t hungry enough to eat dinner before the bus picked us up. So we ordered some dinner just before we got onto our boat, so that it would be ready when we return from our trip. We’d already had plenty of Mofongo in the last couple of days but it was all made with plantain…which is typically what Mofongo is made with. A Yuca Mofongo on the menu was too interesting to not order. As it was late at night, we wanted to take the food to the hotel room ’cause the kids were tired. The kids ate some rice and went to sleep. We opened a couple of Cervezas and dived into the Yuca Mofongo (Pictured on the left above) which was a delicious mix of Yuca, chicken, garlic, herbs etc. We absolutely loved it…
Here’s my version of it made with Chorizo instead of the chicken but is as delicious and brought back some great memories from that trip. Start by cutting and boiling the Yuca until its cooked. Drain it and put it aside to cool down.
The next thing is to work on the garlic sauce. Thats what gives it all the flavor and makes you feel like you’ve been transported to PR.
Take 8-9 cloves of garlic, about a tablespoon of chopped mint, a tablespoon of chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, about 10 peppercorns and salt to taste. In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, peppercorns, salt, cilantro and mint to make a coarse paste. Add the lime juice and the olive oil. If you don’t have a mortar pestle, this can also be done in a blender. This is a really versatile sauce that can be used not only for this but also makes a great salad dressing or a marinade. I had some the next morning on toast and it was delicious!
Grill a couple of Chorizo sausages on a grill pan or on the outdoor grill. Slice it midway to get rid of some fat and to get some charring on all pieces.
Once the sauce is ready, all there is to this dish is putting it together. The grilled chorizo sausages are chopped up into small pieces. The yuca needs to be pounded in the mortar pestle in batches to make a coarse mashed consistency. I made a circular bed of the mashed yuca and put the chorizo right in the center. Sprinkled the garlic sauce on it and topped it off with some diced tomatoes and onions. There it was…A Yuca Mofongo that brought back some wonderful memories from our trip.
Please let me know how it turned out if you try this and any modifications if any that you made. Some chopped lettuce as garnish would go well too. I am going to post the plantain version soon. That really is the REAL Mofongo…simply delicious!