Pastel de Choclo

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Meats | Pastel de Choclo

(Chilean ground beef casserole with corn batter topping)

Pastel de choclo in one form or another is popular throughout South America. It is especially popular in Chile, where it is often made with both beef and chicken. Sometimes sliced, hard-boiled eggs are added. Traditionally the pastel is baked in a large oval earthenware dish, or paila, or in several smaller bowls for individual servings.

Image Creative Commons by Pedro Villavicencio

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Oil -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Ground beef -- 1 pound
  • Paprika -- 1 tablespoon
  • Cuminseed -- 1 teaspoon
  • Oregano -- 1 teaspoon
  • Water or stock -- 1 cup
  • Flour -- 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh or frozen corn -- 1 pound
  • Cornmeal -- 1/4 cup
  • Cornstarch -- 1 or 2 tablespoons
  • Milk -- as needed
  • Sugar -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Butter -- 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar -- 2 or 3 tablespoons

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium flame. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add the ground beef, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and sauté, breaking up the meat, until the beef is just cooked through, 6-8 minutes.
  2. Pour in the water or stock and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle flour over all and stir in well. Simmer for another 5-8 minutes until lightly thickened. Adjust seasoning, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place the corn, cornmeal, cornstarch and sugar in a food processor and process until well pureed. With the blade running, add the milk a little at a time until the corn forms a thick batter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the corn puree and cook, stirring constantly, until well thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Spread the beef mixture in a greased casserole dish. Top with the cooked corn puree and spread out evenly over the dish. Sprinkle the sugar over the corn topping.
  6. Set the dish in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top.

Variations

  • After placing the beef mixture in the casserole dish, top with two poached chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces, and 2-3 sliced hard-boiled eggs. Then top with the corn puree.
  • Add 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup chopped black olives to the simmering beef mixture.
  • Stir 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil into the corn puree topping.
  • Some Chileans add 1/4 cup or more sugar to the corn topping to make it quite sweet.
  • Set the finished casserole under a hot broiler for 1 or 2 minutes to brown it well if you like.
  • Pastel de Papas, or Pastel de Mandióca: substitute boiled, mashed potatoes or yuca, mixed with 1-2 beaten eggs and some grated cheese, for the corn topping if you like. The pastel with a yuca (cassava) topping is particularly popular in Paraguay.

Notes

  • The meat filling for this recipe is called pino and is also used to fill the famous Chilean empanadas.
  • The corn (choclo) used for this dish in South America is more mature and starchier than that found in the United States. That is why this recipe calls for cornmeal and cornstarch. If you can find South American-style corn — called choclo desgranado and found in the frozen section of some Latin groceries — you can eliminate the cornmeal and cornstarch.
Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (54 votes)

Pastel de Choclo

Very easy to follow recipe. I added my own Chilean touch to it and came out delicious!!!

Pastel de Choclos sin albaca???

3

In Chile, there is NOT Pastel de Choclos with out Basil.
Actually, basil is so important in dishes such a: Humitas, Pastel de Choclo, Porotos con Mazamorra, Poroto Pilco, etc. not the same without it!
The base of a GOOD Pastel de Choclos is:
FRESH CORN AND BASIL.

thanks
Rosi

Pastel de choclo

5

The last comment ahbout the different nature of Chilean corn, i.e., not the sweet corn typical of the US table, is right on. My Chilean wife just does not like US corn on the cob; too sweet.
JK

Pastel de choclo

I agree with your wife JK. The chilean corn is not sweet, that is why we add raisins to the beef mixture, and sugar to the top. Yes, the chilean corn is more heavier in texture, but the one I make here in USA is coming up very close to perfect!!
Great recipe...I am working on it today for dinner.
RS

Pastel de choclo

call me mofo's 12602235585 my name is holland im 16 and i like meeting new people from around the world;)