Casserole Recipe with Ground Beef – Puerto Rican Plantian and Meat Casserole (Pastelon)
This Puerto Rican dish is sort of a noodle-less lasagna where the plantains are used in lieu of pasta. This takes some work but the final result is a delicious array flavors that go together perfectly. Here is what you are going to need for this:
2 TBS oil + ¼ cup for frying
1 pound ground beef
1 white onion – finely chopped
4 garlic cloves – minced
1 finely chopped chili pepper (seeded and membrane removed)
1 small green bell pepper – finely chopped
2 TBS chopped parsley
2 TBS chopped cilantro
3 tomatoes – peeled and finely chopped
1 envelope of Sazon Goya OR
1 TBS crushed oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika or achiote
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
2 TBS tomato paste
¼ cup water
2 bay leaves
8 green, pimento stuffed olives – sliced
¼ cup raisins
6 ripe plantains – peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 cup fresh white cheese (Farmer’s, Cotija, Panela)
1/8 cup milk
Heat a skillet with the oil. Brown the beef with the onion and garlic. Add the chili pepper, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro and tomatoes. Mix well. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and paprika (or salt, pepper and 1 envelope of Sazon Goya). Mix well. Cook for about 4 minutes until tomatoes have rendered some juice.
Make a well in the middle and add 2 TBS tomato paste. Mix to dissolve well. Add the water and bay leaves. Mix well and cook for an extra 8 to 10 minutes. Add the olives and raisins. Mix well and turn off the heat.
While the meat is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a skillet. When it is hot, add the plantains. Once they are browned, flip them and brown the other side – about 4 minutes each side. Remove the fried plantains onto a paper towel lined plate.
Butter a square oven proof dish or a 9×13. Start layering 1/3 of the cooked plantains on the bottom. Remove the bay leaves and add ½ of the meat and spread out evenly. Add ½ of the cheese and spread on the meat. Place a second layer of plantains on the cheese. Add the remainder of the meat and spread evenly. Finish with the remaining plantains. Spread the rest of the cheese on the plantains.
Whisk together the eggs and milk. Pour the eggs on the plantains and allow the casserole to set for about 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the pastelon in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow setting for an extra 10 minutes. Slice and serve. Enjoy!