Here's another recipe in my arsenal of Puerto Rican dishes to keep JR satisfied in between trips to his parent's house for Mami's cooking. I bought a copy of Puerto Rican Cuisine in America several years ago and thumbed through it to find easy recipes with identifiable ingredients. Easy because so much of my in-laws cooking seems to require a knack that I don't have, and identifiable because the ingredients I can't often find unless I make a special trip to a grocery store a few towns over.
Easy + Identifiable = Magnifico! (JR's description). I had never heard of Pastelon, never mind eaten it, so I took a huge risk here. I wish this was the result everything new I made, but anyhow I'm happy it's true for this dish.
This dish is a total winner in our house, besides magnifico, JR said it's the same (same!) as the traditional dish he's eaten before. I have even taken the risk to serve this to my in-laws. This is a huge deal people, I normally would not think of serving one of my Puerto Rican dishes to the experts!
Here is what you'll need:
- 4 ripe (blackened) yellow plantains, sliced lengthwise in 1/2 inch thick strips
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb ground sirloin
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp sofrito (or Goya Recaito)
- 1 Tbsp Manzanilla olives mixed with capers (Alcaparrado)
- 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add plantains and fry until brown, about 3 minutes. Turn over plantains and continue frying until second side is browned, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. (Note: I've also done this step in the oven. Drizzle 1 Tbsp oil on baking sheet, lay plantain strips on baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil and roast until browned).
Add remaining oil to the pan. Saute onion and pepper until onion is translucent. Increase heat to high, add ground meat to pan, break up meat with a wooden spoon and add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink.
Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato sauce, sofrito and olives. Stir to combine and simmer 5 minutes.
Beginning assembly meat pie by placing 1/2 of the plantains in a layer on the bottom of the greased baking dish. Spread 1/2 meat mixture over plantains. Repeat with a layer of plantains and then a layer of meat. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Source: Puerto Rican Cuisine in America