Pastelon is Puerto Rico’s version of the globally beloved Meat Pie, and most closely related to a Shepherd Pie. But Pastelon uses plantains, not pasta, as the layering staple. A delicious and delightful play on rich, sweet and salty flavors is what I would describe Pastelon as being.
(serves up to 8)
- 1lb. lean ground beef
- 8 eggs, beaten, divided
- 8 plantains, peeled and sliced in half, lengthwise
- 1 medium onion, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and rough chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2 bunches fresh cilantro
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 tbsp. water (or as needed)
- 30 oz. canned green beans
- 1 tsp. adobo seasoning, plus a little more
- 1 package (1.41 oz.) sazon seasoning
- freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
- scallion infused olive oil
- First, you need to make some sofrito. In a food processor or an electric blender, place the bell pepper, onion, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and just enough water to loosen everything as you blend the ingredients together. Cover, and puree until very smooth. Pour the blended mixture into a bowl, then cover it and refrigerate for now. (Note: this will be more than enough sofrito for your Pastelon dish, but keep the rest for other Caribbean recipes – it stores well in the fridge)
- Place a large skillet on the burner over medium-high flame, and heat 1 tablespoon of scallion infused olive oil. Then add and stir in the ground beef. Sauté, stirring and breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon, until the beef is evenly browned and crumbly.
- Now add and stir in 2 tablespoons of sofrito into the beef, then season with adobo, sazon, and pepper to taste. Mix together well, then drain off and discard any excess grease. Set aside for now.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees C).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Lay the sliced plantains in the skillet and fry until soft and a golden color – about 3 to 5 minutes should do it. Work in batches if necessary.
- When all the plantains are cooked, layer half of them in a deep casserole or baking dish, taking care that the entire dish bottom is covered.
- Now pour half of the beaten eggs over the plantains, then layer the beef over that. Place a layer of all the green beans over the beef, then place the remaining plantains on top as the final solid layer.
- Pour the rest of the beaten eggs evenly over the plantains, then apply a generous sprinkling of adobo seasoning over the very top.
- Bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the eggs are firm. Remove from the oven and allow to rest and “set up” for a few minutes before slicing out portions.
- Serve your Pastelon while still nice and hot, garnished with a sprinkling of freshly chopped cilantro.
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