Baked Plantains + Chow Chow



I got the idea for this fun little side dish when I went to my brother’s wedding in Charlotte this past weekend. The very thoughtful bride and groom made sure there was a vegan plate for me at the reception. Wasn’t that super nice? Anyways, the chef came to my table to explain what he had put together. I think he was a little excited and frankly, so was I.

So, he roasted and sauteed a ton of vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, broccolini, fingerling potatoes and plantains. He served it all with an avocado puree and good old fashioned southern chow chow.

Chow chow is sort of like a relish or cooked salsa. It’s typically made with green tomatoes, peppers and onions.  It can be made with cabbage also, but I opted not to. I made my version with tomatillos because they are firm like green tomatoes. I added a few peppadews because I like saying peppadew and I wanted to give the chow chow a little bit of a kick. I got my peppadews at the olive bar at my local grocery store. They are those little, I’m talking tiny, red hollow peppers.

For the plantains, I tried it two ways. First, I roasted firm plantains with partially black skin at 425F for about half an hour. The result was okay. The fruit was a little too starchy. I was looking for something softer. So I waited a few days until my other plantain ripened some more. When the skin was mostly black, but the fruit was still firm, I tried baking them at a lower heat and I liked the results much better. You can play with this and see what you like. These would be great served with black bean patties and some sauteed collard greens or throw it in with a bunch of other vegetables, like my chef friend at the Duke Mansion.

Baked Plantains + Chow Chow

Serves 2-4, as a side dish

2 ripe but firm plantains, peeled, cut in half and then quartered

1 tsp olive oil

3 medium tomatillos (or green tomatoes), diced

1/4 red onion, diced

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

3 peppadew peppers, minced

1/2 Tbsp palm sugar

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp tumeric

Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Place plantain slices in glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt/pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 20 minutes or until softened. Remove from oven.

To make chow chow: Add remaining ingredients to a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until vegetables begin to break down slightly, about 15-20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Yes, it is that easy!)

Serve chow chow over cooked plantains.

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