It’s not a typographical error, I did call a part of my post Plean Soufflé; so now that I have cleared that up, I suppose it’s only fair to explain what a “Plean” really is or how it came about……..no it’s not an alien food item from planet Zörg……nice try though ??
It all started when February 14 rolled round; after I groped my way from beneath tonnes of cake batter, whipped cream and moulded chocolate it dawned on me, tragically, that I had made no culinary plans ……or errrrrmmmmm any plans for that matter for this (in my opinion exaggerated) occassion.
Essentially I had to get creative and FAST!! There was a growling Papa bear wandering around in my house and my baby cubs were at risk!! Eeeeeeekkk!!
Ok drama over, a quick rummage through my fridge reveled that I had; whipped cream, tonnes of left over chocolate cake shavings, fresh strawberries and strawberry yoghurt. This was a no- brainer! Strawberry chocolate parfait!! I just layered the different ingredients and voila! And I didn’t even have to light an oven! So that was breakfast sorted.
By the time lunch hour rolled round, I was in pseudo panic mode! As I cast my gaze around my kitchen my eyes fell on the following ingredients,
3 extremely ripe plantains
1/4 cup beans flour
3 ata rodo aka scotch bonnet peppers
1 tbs ground Cameroon pepper
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tbs cray fish
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs powdered ginger
4 tbs vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
1/3 warm water (optional)
1 thinly sliced cucumber (garnish)
A light bulb went off in my head and I gathered them all up and this is what I did with them. I was completely winging this recipe and didn’t know what to expect……I was literally making it up as I went along.
I did know however that I wanted to achieve a beautiful union between moin-moin and Ukpo ogede: you read all about these here. And on what better day that February 14 to attempt such a pairing? Even food has a place in romantic entanglements, non?
The “How To”
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Carefully oil an oven proof rectangular Pyrex baking dish or any mould of your choice to be frank.
Wash and peel the plantains and chop them into medium chunks. Peel the onion and garlic and cut them up, set aside. You may opt to seed the peppers or leave the seeds in, it depends on if you can take the heat. Now this is where things get interesting; you’re probably braced for a laborious cooking process but not today – remember that I was tired. I pulled out my food processor with the blade attachment and tossed everything in except the eggs and water.
Blitz the ingredients until you have an even, lump free mixture then add the two eggs and blitz again until evenly mixed through (about 1 minute). Check the consistency, if it appears quite viscous and dense then you may want to thin it down a it with the warm water otherwise, carefully empty the contreras into your oiled receptacle (in my case my rectangular dish). And then place the dish in a Bain Marie (a water bath that can fit in your oven; it should just have about 1 inch of hot water in it). Cover your dish with foil, place it in the oven for about 35 minutes. Check for “doneness” by inserting a tooth pick in it if it comes out clean then it is ready, if it not give it a few more minutes (a lot will depend on the dimensions of your dish).
Voilà! You just made your very first Plean Souffleé! By now you must have figured that I invented that word by pairing Plantain + Bean…..The end result should be a fluffy sweet yet savory and very spicy “pudding”. To temper the spiciness, I added slices of cucumber on the plate to cool the palette and to anchor all the flavours I also incorporated pesto (this time from a jar not freshly made). All these elements came together magically and paired with the stuffed chicken it was magic on a plate!
Here’s the recipe for the stuffed chicken.
2 medium sized chicken breasts
1 clove of garlic
150 grams of cheddar cheese
1 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbs butter
The How To
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
Trim away any sinew or silver skin on your chicken breasts, rinse and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Lay them on a clean, dry chopping board and carefully cover them with cling film. Now with a meat mallet or with a rolling pin beat the breasts until you have an even thickness across the surface and they are about 3/4 of an inch thick; set aside. Chop the garlic and slice up the cheese. Divide them unto the chicken; placing them carefully along one short end of the chicken, then carefully roll the chicken tightly and secure with a butcher’s string tied around it or use tooth picks to keep the seams closed.
Now place a thick bottomed pan (with an oven proof handle) on medium high heat an add the butter, once the butter starts to sizzle place both rolled up chicken pieces in the pan and sear on all sides until you get a lovely brown colour. Transfer the entire pan and it’s contents into the oven for 22 – 25 minutes. Press on it carefully to check if it’s cooked, the chicken flesh should be firm when you press it with your index finger and the juices in the pan should be clear. Cover with foil to rest for another 10 minutes or so. Remove strings or tooth picks, cut up and serve warm.
For dessert we had the infamous triple chocolate mousse cake. The recipe is right here. I didn’t make it on that day. I had prepped it a few days earlier when prepping client’s order.
I hope you enjoyed my culinary journey of discovery and indeed invention. ?