Recipe courtesy of Phil Belshaw

Puerto Rican Prawns with Lobster-Yucca Mofongo and Sofrito Broth

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1/2 gallon vegetable oil, plus more for the mold

2 tablespoons Achiote (annatto) Oil, plus 4 tablespoons, recipe follows

Two 2-pound Caribbean lobster tails

2 yucca, peeled, boiled, and cubed

4 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

12 prawns, peeled, cleaned, and deveined

4 cups Sofrito Broth, recipe follows

Achiote Oil:

2 cups Spanish olive oil

1 cup annatto seeds

Sofrito Broth:

4 tablespoons Achiote Oil, recipe above

1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup diced aji dulce pepper (substitute a bell pepper)

1/2 cup diced onion

4 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tomatoes. peeled, seeded, and diced

1/2 cup minced recao (substitute cilantro)

5 cups shrimp stock or clam juice

1 cup tomato puree

1/2 cup sliced pimento stuffed olives

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro


  1. Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees F in a heavy-duty 4-quart stockpot.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons Achiote Oil in a skillet and saute the lobster meat until just warm. Remove from pan and place on a clean plate. Cover the lobster with plastic wrap and keep warm while preparing the yucca.
  3. Place the yucca in the hot vegetable oil and deep fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. When the yucca is ready, place in a bowl and add the remainder of the Achiote Oil and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and toss to distribute all ingredients evenly. Mash the yucca until there is an even red color throughout the mixture. Add the warm lobster to the yucca and fold together. Using your hands, fill a greased 1 cup mold (pilon) with the mofongo and pack firmly to form a mold. Remove the mofongo from the mold by turning the mold upside down and tapping gently. Repeat this procedure with remaining yucca mixture. You should have 4 pilon shaped mofongos. Place on a plate, wrap in plastic, and keep warm while preparing the prawns.
  4. For the prawns, heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Season the prawns with salt and pepper and cook 30 seconds per side. Add 4 cups of the Sofrito Broth to the prawns and simmer until prawns are cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. To serve, place 1 mofongo in the middle of 4 pasta bowls and arrange 3 prawns around each of the mofongo. Ladle broth over mofongo and serve immediately.

Achiote Oil:

Yield: 2 cups
  1. Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepot. Add the annatto seeds and remove from heat. Let steep at room temperature for 4 hours. Strain oil into a glass container. Keeps for up to 1 month.

Sofrito Broth:

Yield: 1 quart
  1. Heat the achiote oil in a saucepan. Add the bell pepper, aji dulce, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and recao and saute for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the shrimp stock, tomato puree, and olives and simmer gently for 20 minutes until all flavors are combined to an aromatic broth. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, and serve.