When life gives you too many banana leaves, tell them to leaf you alone…
This past holiday weekend we hosted back to back Thanksgiving parties and while the turkeys were great (shout out to my brother in law and secret cousin), after 1 day it was enough for me. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve always envisioned a Turkey-free Thanksgiving, where it’s just like fish or tacos, or fish tacos. Just anything but the same played out gobbler. Some may say, “But that is what Thanksgiving is for” and they have a point, but for me it feels so tiresome year after year. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, Turkey, stuffing, gravy, Turkey, grav…that magenta jelly stuff in a can that looks like dog food for a toothless poodle in a wheelchair…ZzzzZZZZzzzZZzz….that’s why this year for our second Thanksgiving party I decided to throw in Kalua Pig and asked the wife to make Hawaiian-style Mac Salad. If you don’t know, Kalua Pig is NOT some kind of pork dish made with that coffee liqueur. I think like 1 person out of 3 will hear me say Kalua Pig and ask me how I came up with the recipe to fit in Kahlua. That’s not what I mean, though it sounds intriguing. If you want to learn a little about Kalua Pig, I have a link below from a whole pig I cooked. The short version is basically a pork shoulder or whole pig, wrapped in banana leaf and cooked slowly for hours in an Imu or any other method you have (crock pot, oven, smoker) if you can’t dig a pit in your yard. I asked once if I could make an Imu…it was shot down like a blind fat duck with one wing in hunting season. All this is a long way of saying that after I made the Kalua Pig, I had a bunch of banana leaf left over and I had no idea what to do with it. So…I took some chicken and beef I had laying around and did something with it. I have never made either dish before but it sounded like fun so I went for it. So, without further delay, here is what I came up with….
Chicken in a Banana Bed
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
- Banana leaf
- ½ an onion rough cut
- 1 cup Huli Huli sauce
- 1/3 cup vinegar
Take a long piece of foil and lay it out on a flat surface. Next grab a banana leaf and put it on top of the foil. Then, put the chicken and onion in the middle. Pick it all up and transfer into a medium/smallish pyrex dish. Pour in the Huli Huli sauce and vinegar, fold the banana leaf over it all, then wrap the foil over everything and place an oven that has been heated to 350 degrees. Cook for one hour and pull from the oven. Let sit for about 10 minutes then open.
Cow in a Banana Hammock
- Pack of beef stew meat
- Banana leaf
- ½ an onion rough cut
- 2 potatoes rough cut
- 1 can of coconut juice
- 1 jar of mango/passionfruit/guava jelly (or any tropical fruit jelly you like)
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
In a medium pot over high heat, brown the meat for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in half the can of coconut juice. Simmer for about 15 minutes then drain the juice. Take a long piece of foil and lay it out on a flat surface. Next grab a banana leaf and put it on top of the foil. Then, put the beef, onion, and potatoes in the middle. Pick it all up and transfer into a medium/smallish pyrex dish. Pour in the rest of the coconut juice, salt, and 4 heaping spoonfuls of jelly over all of it. Fold the banana leaf over it, then wrap the foil over everything and place an oven that has been heated to 350 degrees. Cook for one hour and pull from the oven. Let sit for about 10 minutes then open.
Usually I have some kind of memory or story behind why I decide to cook what I do. It is inspired by a trip, a friend or family member for the most part. This time I guess it’s just about “How the heck do I use up this stuff I have in the fridge?” Life is funny like that. Sometimes you don’t know what to do, or how its gonna turn out. All you can do is look at the situation, give it your best shot, and hope it turns out. I tell myself that every time I get behind the wheel, or out of bed, whichever comes first. If you decide to try this little experiment, have fun, take your time with it, and I catch you later.
PS! Don’t forget to keep checking out the cool stuff my mother-in-law is writing about over at:
Also, here is the link for the whole pig:
If you can, get your hands on that jelly!
See? Onion and potato are beef’s friend.
I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly….
After this, go youtube the Huli Huli Chicken song by Barefoot Natives.
Love the green in the banana leaf.
Is it hot in here ’cause its just me?
These potatoes turned out better than I thought they would.
Sweet and sour power hour. Great name for my autobiography.
Sooo…umm….the nanny and kids ate the food for lunch before I could get a plated shot, so this is a picture of what my kids ate for dinner that night.