Pabellon Criollo on Crispy Fried Plantains

July 20, 2011
2 Ratings
Author Notes

I grew up having flank steak on the grill. I met an Italian woman who had lived in Venezuela and Argentina, after I moved to Chicago and she told me about how she boils and sheds flank steak. I insisted that she teach me how to do it. She boiled the flank steak for about 1 1/2 hours in water. Something about that just didn't felt right to me, even though I really liked the taste. So I make my Pabellon Criollo in the slow cooker. It seems to make less of a mess and makes the sauce a bit richer. It is traditionally served with rice, black beans, and fried ripe plantains.

So enter this great restaurant in Chicago called Belly Shack. They serve a spicy tofu sandwich on crispy plantains in place of bread. I love it and it is where I got the inspiration to use the plantains of the traditional dish as sweet salty vehicle to serve the meat on.

Next, it needed a little vegetable texture added to the sandwich. My family's cole slaw recipe (I have also posted it on this site: Schuler's Cole Slaw) was perfect for this sandwich. It is made with whipped cream, sugar and caraway. This compliments the plantains and shredded beef.

In the end, you have a unique sandwich to serve your friends. Bonus: It's gluten-free. - MyCommunalTable —MyCommunalTable

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish is proof that slow cooking makes a huge difference. The flank steak is so tender. And, it is complimented by the cool coleslaw and crisp plantains. I tried it on the plantains and also on a roll. Both ways were delicious. I thought it very interesting that you soak the plantains after the first round of frying. Accidentally I forgot to soak one round of plantains and, to my surprise, it did make a big difference. The ones that were soaked were softer on the inside, which worked better with the fried exterior. Serve this dish with some cold beers and you've got a great meal. - singing_baker —singing_baker

  • Serves 4-6
  • Pabellon Criollo
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 2 teaspoons creole seasonings
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spanish olives with pimento, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • Crispy Plantains
  • 2 green plantains
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus some for seasoning
In This Recipe
  1. Pabellon Criollo
  2. Heat up oil in a large saute' pan. Rub flank steak with creole seasonings. Brown flank steak on each side.
  3. In the slow cooker, place browned flank steak and all the rest of the ingredients, but do not add salt and pepper until tasting at the end. Cover and set on low for 8 hours.
  4. When 8 hours is up, take two forks and shred the meat. Mix with sauce. Taste, then add appropriate amount of salt and pepper. I find that I usually need pepper, but not much salt, if any.
  5. The shredded meat keeps great on the warm in the crock pot while I make the crispy plantains. The meat also tastes great on a soft potato dinner roll.
  1. Crispy Plantains
  2. Peel the plantains and cut in half. Cut each half down the middle, making a oblong shape.
  3. Set up a bowl with water and salt in it by the stove.
  4. Heat up oil in a large saute' pan to 325F. Drop cut plantains into oil until slightly golden. About a minute. It may need to be turned to ensure all sides are golden brown.
  5. Pull plantains from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel lined cookie sheet. When cool enough to touch, place on counter and flatten with bottom side of a plate until 1/2 inch thick. It should be in an oval like rectangle shape. Drop into salted water. Repeat with all of the plantains. Soak for 1 minute.
  6. Make sure that oil is heated back up to 325F. Pat dry plantains, then drop in oil for a final fry. It will take about 2 minutes a side. Drain on paper towel and season with salt.
  7. Assemble crispy plantains with Pabellon Criollo and cole slaw. Serve immediately.
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