Pastel de Choclo (corn casserole) is a typical Chilean dish served for almuerzo, or lunch, the main meal of the day. It is traditionally cooked and served in individual clay bowls, but a casserole pan works fine. The ingredients seem a bit unusual, but like many peasant dishes it was developed from the foods most abundant at the time. The result is a unique savory combination. Either ground beef or chicken can be used for the meat base.
Makes 6-8 servings
one 13×9 inch pan or 2 quart casserole
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs
3 garlic cloves, pressed, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper (or to taste)
8-10 pitted whole black olives
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup black raisins
1 pound ground beef OR skinless, boneless chicken, chopped in small cubes
2 16-ounce cans cut corn, drained OR frozen corn, defrosted and drained
2 10-ounces packages
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Sauté the onions, garlic, and spices in the olive oil in a medium frying pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
2. When the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, add the ground beef or chicken and sauté until cooked through.
3. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. While this mixture is cooking, oil the 13×9 inch baking pan or 2 quart casserole. Spread the meat mixture evenly over bottom of the pan.
5. Spread the sliced eggs evenly over the meat mixture. Arrange the olives in rows, pressing gently into meat. Sprinkle with the raisins.
6. In a blender or food processor, puree the corn with the raw eggs, basil and salt. Spread evenly over the top of mixture in the baking dish.
7. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top and firm but moist.
Kids in the Kitchen: This is a perfect recipe to get the kids involved. Let them arrange the eggs, olives and raisins- make fun designs or practice counting. Just be sure each serving gets a little bit of everything.