Monday, March 7, 2011

Pastel de Choclo (Chilean corn and meat pie) and a Winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway!  The winner was selected by  And the winner is...Rachel!  Rachel, I will be contacting you for your address to send you your Pillsbury prize package.  Now on to the main dish.

Once upon a time, I lived in Chile.  Southern Chile to be exact where it is cold and the penguins live.  Yes, penguins really do live in Chile.  Let me tell you, I loved Chile!  Besides being beautiful and breathtaking landscape, the Chileans are some of the best people on earth.  My favorite, favorite dish in Chile was this "Pastel de Choclo". is so good.  Plus, it reminds me of one of my favorite places in the world.  The day I left Chile after a year and a half to come back to the states, I stopped by the house of some dear friends.  I walked in to see a surprise feast of Pastel de Choclo made by the wonderful Olga.  I definitely left Chile with some additional baggage as in 20 lbs. worth stuck to my body!

I made this for the first time for my hubs and kids.  I cannot believe I have not made this before for my family!  What was I thinking?  So this dish includes beef and chicken....and eggs.....and raisins....and olives.....and a corn crust....all topped off with powdered sugar.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Delicious!  Yes!!!  So this recipe includes the most traditional Chilean way of making this by adding all of the above, of course.  But if there is any ingredient you don't particularly like, you can leave it out.  The essentials are the meat mixture, the corn puree topping, and the powdered sugar.  The other stuff (eggs, raisins, olives, and chicken, can you believe you mix that in one dish?) really, really adds flavor though.  Seriously, you'd be surprised.  Now without further blah, blah, blah from me, I present to you my favorite, most beloved Chilean dish...Pastel de Choclo.

Pastel de Choclo Chilean Style

Meat Filling:
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup water or beef broth
1 Tablespoon flour (for gluten free, use rice flour)

Corn Topping:
1 lb. fresh or frozen corn
1/4 cup cornmeal
1-2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
Milk (if needed)

Additional Toppings:
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 cup black olives
1/2 cup raisins
1-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded, cubed, or whole (seasoned with salt, pepper, and ground cumin, to taste)
2-3 Tablespoons powdered sugar (plus, more for sprinkling after)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, beef, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and saute.  Cook until the beef is cooked through (about 6-8 minutes).
2.  Pour in the water or stock and bring to a simmer.  Sprinkle flour over the meat mixture and stir in well.  Simmer for another 5-8 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside.
3.  Place the corn, cornmeal, cornstarch, granulated sugar, and basil in a food processor or blender and process until well pureed.  You want these ingredients to form a thick batter.  I didn't need to add milk to mine, but feel free to add milk little by little until you have a formed a thick batter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
4.  Melt the butter over medium-low heat in the 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 the bottom of a greased casserole dish (can be an 8x8 or a larger pie dish with tall sides).  Arrange over the beef mixture the hard boiled egg slices, olives, and raisins.  Season the cooked chicken with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.   Spread the chicken over the top of the eggs, olives, and raisins.  Cover that with the cooked corn puree and spread evenly over the dish.  Sprinkle the powdered 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. 

*In Chile, more powdered sugar is served on the side to sprinkle over the "pastel" (cake) as it is eaten.  Trust me, it's good!
*To make this dairy free, just leave out the hard boiled eggs, butter, and don't add any milk.

Here's the inside of this bad boy!


Samurai Mom said...

This looks so good but way to much work for my family who would reject it because the food is touching other food.

Meaghan Luby said...

this looks amazing! thanks for sharing :)

carolinaheartstrings said...

Wow does that look wonderful. I bet the flavors are amazing!

Steven said...

Is the chicken raw or cooked when you add it in?

Mike and Kimmy said...

Steven - Sorry for not clarifying that. It should be cooked already. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I've fixed it in the post.

Christy said...

that sure does look like special occasion food. i love mixing sweet and savory makes the best tasting food. who wouldn't want to visit a country that makes such an amazing dish! thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club!


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