Monday, May 18, 2009

Pastel de Choclo

One day, when I was the PTO Hospitality Chair, I came up with this crazy idea to have an International Feast. The issue was, whenever you try to be truly international, you end up with a lot of European and Mexican dishes. That is not a real problem, because it is all quite yummy. But I wanted equal representation from all cultures and continents, and not just cliches. I literally spent hours and days and weeks on the Internet until I felt I had a balance of yummy food from multiple countries. This was my find from Chile. It is kind of like a South American version of Shepard's Pie. Instead of mashed potatoes, there is a light cornmeal topping. It was a hit and many people wanted the recipe.

The meat filling for this recipe is called pino and is also used to fill the famous Chilean empanadas.

(Chilean ground beef casserole with corn batter topping)

Yield: 4-6 servings





2-3 T


chopped fine

1 each



2-3 cloves

Ground beef

1 lb


1 T

Cumin seed

1 t


1 t

Water or stock

1 cup


1 T

Corn, fresh or frozen

1 lb


1/4 cup


1-2 T


as needed


1 T

Salt & pepper

to taste


1 T


2-3 T


Basic Steps: Sauté → Simmer → Puree → Thicken → Bake

  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium flame. Sauté onions till translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes more. Add the ground beef, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper and sauté till beef is just cooked through.
  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 till thickened. Adjust seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place the corn, cornmeal, cornstarch and sugar in a food processor and process till well pureed. With the blade running, add milk a little at a time till the corn forms a thick batter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 375º. 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.
  5. Spread the beef mixture in a greased casserole dish. Top with the corn puree and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes till bubbling and golden brown on top.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I had it a couple of times and loved it!! I had forgotten it even existed. Thanks for the recipe and for bringing back a bunch of memories!!