The long list of ingredients is misleading because you probably have them on hand! 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. There is cornmeal added to this recipe because North American corn has a lot less starch and it is needed to make the batter properly. Enjoy!
- 2 -3 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup water or 1 cup stock
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 lb fresh or frozen corn (thaw if frozen)
- 1⁄4 cup cornmeal
- 1 -2 tablespoon cornstarch
- milk, as needed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 -3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Add the ground beef, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and saute, breaking up the meat, until the beef is just cooked through, 6-8 minutes.
- 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. This meat mixture is called pino.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Set the dish in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top.
- 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.