Pastel de choclo is a beef and corn casserole that is a very traditional and popular dish in Chile. Lots of different flavors - beef and onions, raisins, olives, roasted chicken - go into the body of the casserole, and the whole thing is topped off with a thick layer of creamed choclo corn. The corn "pudding" layer caramelizes in the oven, and the result is a delicious salty/sweet combination that's reminiscent of shepherd's pie.
Choclo is an Andean variety of corn with large starchy kernels that are slightly less sweet than most North American corn varieties, though any corn works well for this recipe. You can often find frozen choclo in Latin American grocery stores.
This dish is traditionally baked in a shallow, round clay pot. A cast iron skillet works well as a substitute (with the benefit of being able to cook the onions and beef in it first), but any casserole dish will do.
- 3 to 4 medium onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped black olives
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 cup shredded roasted chicken
- Sauté the onions in the vegetable oil until soft and translucent, 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the beef is crumbled and browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place the corn kernels in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup milk. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, until the corn is blended and appears creamy.
- Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and the blended corn mixture. Add the remaining 3/4 cup milk and simmer, constantly stirring, until the mixture thickens about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped fresh basil.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Drain the liquid from the browned beef mixture. Place the ground beef mixture in the bottom of a 3 to 4-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the raisins, olives, and hardboiled eggs over the beef, then layer the chicken on top.
- Spread the corn mixture over the top of the casserole so that it covers the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle the powdered sugar on top.
- Bake the casserole in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until the filling is bubbling hot and the corn mixture is golden brown. Serve warm.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|