Pastelon (Puerto Rican Lasagna)
I’ve never been to Puerto Rico and know very little about Puerto Rican food. However, while I was shopping at Dun Up Boutique the owner was telling me about this amazing Puerto Rican restaurant in San Rafael, Sol Food. A few days later, the restaurant showed up on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives where the owner made pastelon, billed as Puerto Rican lasagna.
I’ve made picadillo over rice a few times and had been craving plantains so I knew it was something I would probably like. Pastelon is slices of fried ripe plantains layered with cheese and picadillo (ground beef, tomato paste, olives and spices) topped with a layer of egg…yum! I really liked the juxtaposition of the spicy meat and briny olives with the sweet fried plantains.
(Update 6/7/12) This time, I used 4 ripe plantains and 3 green plantains. Unripe plantains are dryer than ripe ones and are closer in texture and flavor to potatoes. I liked the mix of sweet and savory so appreciated the green plantains–just make sure you keep track of the green and sweet when you layer so each slice has a good mix of both kinds. Further, if you use green bananas, add some more crushed tomatoes to your meat sauce to offset their dryness. I also used jalapeno-stuffed olives this time (its what I had) and loved the low heat it added.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 minced onions
- 6 minced gloves garlic
- 1 green pepper, minced
- 1 red pepper, minced
- 1 minced serrano pepper
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro
- 4 tsp adobo
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 4 tsp oregano
- 4 Tbs vinegar
- 2 envelope sazón
- 4 bay leaves
- 16 green stuffed olives, halved
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 7 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced into strips (or 4 ripe, 3 green plantains)
- 6 eggs
- 4 Tbs milk
- 4 cups white shredded cheese
- vegetable oil
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown beef. Add onion, peppers, serrano, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, adobo, oregano, vinegar and sazon.
- When onions and peppers start to become translucent, add bay leaves, olives and tomato sauce. Mix and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pan fry plantains in vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and slightly crispy. Salt the fried slices!
- In a deep 9×13 pan (it will overflow if you use a 9×11 pyrex), layer plantains, beef and cheese. I had 3 layers of plantains & cheese sandwiched with 2 layers of meat.
- Beat eggs with milk and pour over the top. Add a little more cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes and garnish with cilantro.
We served this with hot sauce, sour cream and salad.
(Updated 6/7/2012 with additional images and comments)
When served hot out of the oven sometimes things fall over…but still delicious!